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Title: Belgium
Author: Omond, George W. T. (George William Thomson)
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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BELGIUM


      *      *      *      *      *      *

  THIS BOOK IS ALSO PUBLISHED IN THREE SEPARATE PARTS


  +-----------------------------------------------+
  |                     BRUGES                    |
  |               AND WEST FLANDERS               |
  |                                               |
  |CONTAINING 57 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR|
  |                                               |
  |                PRICE 10/- NET                 |
  +-----------------------------------------------+
  |                    BRABANT                    |
  |               AND EAST FLANDERS               |
  |                                               |
  |CONTAINING 20 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR|
  |                                               |
  |                 PRICE 7/6 NET                 |
  +-----------------------------------------------+
  |                     LIÉGE                     |
  |               AND THE ARDENNES                |
  |                                               |
  |CONTAINING 20 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR|
  |                                               |
  |                 PRICE 7/6 NET                 |
  +-----------------------------------------------+

  A. AND C. BLACK, SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


BELGIUM


      *      *      *      *      *      *

  AGENTS

  AMERICA       THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                  64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

  CANADA        THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD.
                  27 RICHMOND STREET WEST, TORONTO

  INDIA         MACMILLAN & COMPANY, LTD.
                  MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY
                  309 BOW BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA

  AUSTRALASIA   OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, MELBOURNE

      *      *      *      *      *      *


[Illustration: BRUSSELS

The Hôtel de Ville, a corner of the Grande Place, showing La Maison des
Brasseurs, La Maison du Cygne, and La Maison de l'Étoile.]


BELGIUM

Painted by AMÉDÉE FORESTIER

Text by

GEORGE W. T. OMOND



Published by A. & C.
Black · Soho Square London · W · MCMVIII

[Illustration]



Contents


  CHAPTER PAGE

      I. THE MARKET-PLACE AND BELFRY OF BRUGES--EARLY HISTORY       3

     II. BALDWIN BRAS-DE-FER--THE PLACE DU BOURG--MURDER OF
         CHARLES THE GOOD                                          11

    III. THE BÉGUINAGE--CHURCHES--THE RELIC OF THE HOLY BLOOD      23

     IV. THE BRUGES MATINS--BATTLE OF THE GOLDEN SPURS             39

      V. DAMME--THE SEA-FIGHT AT SLUIS--SPLENDOUR OF
         BRUGES IN THE MIDDLE AGES--THE FALL AND LOSS OF TRADE     49

     VI. 'BRUGES LA MORTE'                                         63

    VII. THE PLAIN OF WEST FLANDERS--YPRES                         83

   VIII. FURNES--THE PROCESSION OF PENITENTS                      109

     IX. NIEUPORT--THE BATTLE OF THE DUNES                        119

      X. THE COAST OF FLANDERS                                    129

     XI. COXYDE--THE SCENERY OF THE DUNES                         151

    XII. GHENT                                                    163

   XIII. THE DUKES OF BRABANT--THE JOYEUSE ENTRÉE--END
         OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY 175 XIV. THE BOMBARDMENT
         OF 1695--THE GRANDE PLACE--CHURCH OF STE. GUDULE
         --CHARLES OF LORRAINE                                    195

     XV. JOSEPH II AND THE REVOLUTION OF BRABANT                  209

    XVI. THE JACOBINS OF BRUSSELS--VISIT OF NAPOLEON--THE
         HUNDRED DAYS                                             219

   XVII. THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT--THE REVOLUTION OF 1830             233

  XVIII. THE VICISSITUDES OF ANTWERP                              243

    XIX. THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIÉGE                                273

     XX. EARLY HISTORY OF LIÉGE--BISHOP NOTGER--THE
         COURT OF PEACE                                           279

    XXI. THE DUKES OF BURGUNDY--DESTRUCTION OF LIÉGE BY CHARLES
         THE BOLD                                                 295

   XXII. THE WILD BOAR OF ARDENNES                                313

  XXIII. ÉRARD DE LA MARCK--THE PRINCIPALITY IN THE
         SIXTEENTH CENTURY                                        325

   XXIV. THE CHIROUX AND THE GRIGNOUX--THE TRAGIC BANQUET
         OF WARFUSÉE                                              339

    XXV. THE GAMING-TABLES AT SPA--THE FRENCH REVOLUTION--
         ANNEXATION OF THE PRINCIPALITY                           353

   XXVI. LIÉGE AND THE VALLEY OF THE MEUSE IN MODERN
         TIMES--BOUILLON                                          363

         INDEX                                                    377



List of Illustrations


   1. Hôtel de Ville, Brussels (showing La Maison des Brasseurs,
      La Maison du Cygne, and La Maison de l'Étoile)    _Frontispiece_

                                                          FACING PAGE

   2. A Corner of the Market on the Grande Place, Bruges            6

   3. Bell-ringer playing a Chime                                   8

   4. Porte d'Ostende, Bruges                                      10

   5. Rue de l'Âne Aveugle (showing end of Town Hall and
       Bridge connecting it with Palais de Justice), Bruges        14

   6. Quai du Rosaire, Bruges                                      18

   7. The Béguinage, Bruges                                        24

   8. Quai des Marbriers, Bruges                                   38

   9. A Flemish Young Woman                                        42

  10. A Flemish Burgher                                            46

  11. Quai du Miroir, Bruges                                       52

  12. View of the Palais du Franc, Bruges                          64

  13. Maison du Pélican (Almshouse), Bruges                        68

  14. Vegetable Market, Bruges                                     78

  15. The Flemish Plain                                            84

  16. A Flemish Country Girl                                       86

  17. Interior of a Farmhouse, Duinhoek                            88

  18. At the Kermesse, Adinkerque                                  92

  19. A Farmsteading                                               96

  20. Place du Musée (showing the top part of the Belfry), Ypres   98

  21. Arcade under the Nieuwerk, Ypres                            104

  22. Grande Place and Belfry, Furnes                             110

  23. Peristyle of Town Hall and Palais de Justice, Furnes        112

  24. Interior of Church, Nieuport                                114

  25. Tower of St. Nicholas, Furnes                               116

  26. In Ste. Walburge's Church, Furnes                           118

  27. A Fair Parishioner, Nieuport                                120

  28. Hall and Vicarage, Nieuport                                 122

  29. The Quay, with Eel-boats and Landing-stages, Nieuport       124

  30. The Town Hall, Nieuport                                     126

  31. Church Porch (Evensong), Nieuport                           128

  32. A Stormy Evening: the Dunes                                 130

  33. An Old Farmer                                               134

  34. Interior of a Flemish Inn, La Panne                         138

  35. A Flemish Inn--Playing Skittles, La Panne                   140

  36. A Shrimper on Horseback, Coxyde                             152

  37. A Shrimper, Coxyde                                          154

  38. Village and Canal, Adinkerque                               156

  39. An Old Lace-maker, Ghent                                    164

  40. The Banquet Hall, Château des Comtes, Ghent                 166

  41. Béguinage de Mont St. Amand, Ghent                          168

  42. The Arrière Faucille (Achter Sikkel), Ghent                 170

  43. The Ruins of the Cloisters of the Abbey of St. Bavon, Ghent 172

  44. Place de Brouckére, Brussels                                176

  45. Entrance to the Old Church of the Carmelites, Brussels      188

  46. The Cathedral of Ste. Gudule, Brussels                      200

  47. Old House in the Grande Place, Brussels                     216

  48. Rue de Namur, Brussels                                      230

  49. The Farm of La Belle Alliance, and the Mound surmounted
      by the Belgian Lion, Waterloo                               232

  50. The Cathedral Chapel of St. Joseph, Antwerp                 244

  51. The Vieille Boucherie, Antwerp                              246

  52. Old Houses in the Rue de l'Empereur, Antwerp                248

  53. Archway under the Vieille Boucherie, Antwerp                252

  54. The Concierge of the Musée Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp         254

  55. The Place Verte, Antwerp                                    260

  56. The Musée Plantin-Moretus (the Arrière Boutique), Antwe     262

  57. The Roadstead from the Tête de Flandre, Antwerp             266

  58. The Château de Waulsort on the Meuse                        274

  59. Château de Walzin, in the Lesse Valley                      276

  60. The Episcopal Palace--Outer Court, Liége                    280

  61. Pont des Arches, Liége                                      284

  62. Escalier de la Fontaine, Liége                              286

  63. The Hospital, Dinant                                        292

  64. La Maison Curtius, Liége                                    296

  65. Le Rocher Bayard, Dinant                                    302

  66. Old House of the Quai de la Goffe, Liége                    308

  67. A Peasant Woman of the Ardennes                             314

  68. The River Sambre seen from the Pont de Sambre, Namur        318

  69. La Gleize, a Village in the Ardennes                        322

  70. General View of Dinant                                      328

  71. The Romanesque Church, Hastière                             336

  72. Le Perron Liégeois, Liége                                   340

  73. La Vieille Boucherie, Liége                                 346

  74. The Episcopal Palace--Inner Court, Liége                    350

  75. Pont du Prophète, Promenade Meyerbeer, Spa Woods            356

  76. Pont de Jambes et Citadelle, Namur                          364

  77. Château de Bouillon, in the Semois Valley                   368

_Sketch-map at the end of Volume._


BRUGES AND WEST FLANDERS



BRUGES AND WEST FLANDERS



CHAPTER I

THE MARKET-PLACE AND BELFRY--EARLY HISTORY OF BRUGES


Every visitor to 'the quaint old Flemish city' goes first to the
Market-Place. On Saturday mornings the wide space beneath the mighty
Belfry is full of stalls, with white canvas awnings, and heaped up with
a curious assortment of goods. Clothing of every description, sabots
and leathern shoes and boots, huge earthenware jars, pots and pans,
kettles, cups and saucers, baskets, tawdry-coloured prints--chiefly
of a religious character--lamps and candlesticks, the cheaper kinds
of Flemish pottery, knives and forks, carpenters' tools, and such
small articles as reels of thread, hatpins, tape, and even bottles
of coarse scent, are piled on the stalls or spread out on the rough
stones wherever there is a vacant space. Round the stalls, in the
narrow spaces between them, the people move about, talking, laughing,
and bargaining. Their native Flemish is the tongue they use amongst
themselves; but many of them speak what passes for French at Bruges, or
even a few words of broken English, if some unwary stranger from across
the Channel is rash enough to venture on doing business with these
sharp-witted, plausible folk.

At first sight this Market-Place, so famed in song, is a disappointment.
The north side is occupied by a row of seventeenth-century houses
turned into shops and third-rate cafés. On the east is a modern
post-office, dirty and badly ventilated, and some half-finished
Government buildings. On the west are two houses which were once
of some note--the Cranenburg, from the windows of which, in olden
times, the Counts of Flanders, with the lords and ladies of their
Court, used to watch the tournaments and pageants for which Bruges was
celebrated, and in which Maximilian was imprisoned by the burghers in
1488; and the Hôtel de Bouchoute, a narrow, square building of dark
red brick, with a gilded lion over the doorway. But the Cranenburg,
once the 'most magnificent private residence in the Market-Place,'
many years ago lost every trace of its original splendour, and is now
an unattractive hostelry, the headquarters of a smoking club; while
the Hôtel de Bouchoute, turned into a clothier's shop, has little to
distinguish it from its commonplace neighbours. Nevertheless,

'In the Market-Place of Bruges stands the Belfry old and brown;
Thrice consumed and thrice rebuilded, still it watches o'er the town.'

It redeems the Market-Place from mediocrity. How long ago the first
belfry tower of Bruges was built is unknown, but this at least is
certain, that in the year 1280 a fire, in which the ancient archives
of the town perished, destroyed the greater part of an old belfry,
which some suppose may have been erected in the ninth century. On
two subsequent occasions, in the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries,
the present Belfry, erected on the ruins of the former structure,
was damaged by fire: and now it stands on the south side of the
Market-Place, rising 350 feet above the Halles, a massive building of
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, solemn, weather-beaten, and
majestic. 'For six hundred years,' it has been said, 'this Belfry has
watched over the city of Bruges. It has beheld her triumphs and her
failures, her glory and her shame, her prosperity and her gradual
decay, and, in spite of so many vicissitudes, it is still standing to
bear witness to the genius of our forefathers, to awaken memories of
old times and admiration for one of the most splendid monuments of
civic architecture which the Middle Ages has produced.'[1]

In olden times watchmen were always on duty on the Belfry to give
warning if enemies approached or fire broke out in any part of the
town, a constant source of danger when most of the houses were built
of wood. Even in these more prosaic days the custom of keeping watch
and ward unceasingly is still maintained, and if there is a fire,
the alarum-bell clangs over the city. All day, from year's end to
year's end, the chimes ring every quarter of an hour; and all night,
too, during the wildest storms of winter, when the wind shrieks round
the tower; and in summer, when the old town lies slumbering in the
moonlight.

[Illustration: BRUGES

A corner of the Market on the Grand' Place.]

From the top of the Belfry one looks down onwhat is practically
a medieval city. The Market-Place seems to lose its modern aspect
when seen from above; and all round there is nothing visible but
houses with high-pointed gables and red roofs, intersected by canals,
and streets so narrow that they appear to be mere lanes. Above these
rise, sometimes from trees and gardens, churches, convents, venerable
buildings, the lofty spire of Notre Dame, the tower of St. Sauveur,
the turrets of the Gruthuise, the Hospital of St. John, famous for its
paintings by Memlinc, the Church of Ste. Elizabeth in the grove of the
Béguinage, the pinnacles of the Palais du Franc, the steep roof of the
Hôtel de Ville, the dome of the Convent des Dames Anglaises, and beyond
that to the east the slender tower which rises above the Guildhouse
of the Archers of St. Sebastian. The walls which guarded Bruges in
troublous times have disappeared, though five of the old gateways
remain; but the town is still contained within the limits which it had
reached at the close of the thirteenth century.

Behind the large square of the Halles, from which the Belfry rises, is
the Rue du Vieux Bourg, the street of the Ouden Burg, or old fort; and
to this street the student of history must first go if he wishes to
understand what tradition, more or less authentic, has to say about
the earliest phases in the strange, eventful past of Bruges. The wide
plain of Flanders, the northern portion of the country which we now
call Belgium, was in ancient times a dreary fenland, the haunt of wild
beasts and savage men; thick, impenetrable forests, tracts of barren
sand, sodden marshes, covered it; and sluggish streams, some whose
waters never found their way to the sea, ran through it. One of these
rivulets, called the Roya, was crossed by a bridge, to defend which,
according to early tradition, a fort, or 'burg,' was erected in the
fourth century. This fort stood on an islet formed by the meeting of
the Roya with another stream, called the Boterbeke, and a moat which
joined the two. We may suppose that near the fort, which was probably
a small building of rough stones, or perhaps merely a wooden stockade,
a few huts were put up by people who came there for protection, and
as time went on the settlement increased. 'John of Ypres, Abbot of
St. Bertin,' says Mr. Robinson, 'who wrote in the fourteenth century,
describes how Bruges was born and christened: "Very soon pedlars
began to settle down under the walls of the fort to supply the wants
of its inmates. Next came merchants, with their valuable wares.
Innkeepers followed, who began to build houses, where those who could
not find lodging in the fort found food and shelter. Those who thus
turned away from the fort would say, 'Let us go to the bridge.' And
when the houses near the bridge became so numerous as to form a town,
it kept as its proper name the Flemish word _Brugge_."

[Illustration: BELL-RINGER PLAYING A CHIME]

The small island on which this primitive township stood was bounded on
the south and east by the Roya, on the north by the Boterbeke, and on
the west by the moat joining these two streams. The Roya still flows
along between the site of the old burg and an avenue of lime-trees
called the Dyver till it reaches the end of the Quai du Rosaire, when
it turns to the north. A short distance beyond this point it is vaulted
over, and runs on beneath the streets and houses of the town. The Rue
du Vieux Bourg is built over the course of the Boterbeke, which now
runs under it and under the Belfry (erected on foundations sunk deep
into the bed of the stream), until it joins the subterranean channel of
the Roya at the south-east corner of the Market-Place. The moat which
joined these two streams and guarded the west side of the island was
filled up long ago, and its bed is now covered by the Rue Neuve, which
connects the Rue du Vieux Bourg with the Dyver.

Thus the boundaries of early Bruges can easily be traced; but nothing
remains of the ancient buildings, though we read of a warehouse,
booths, and a prison besides the dwelling-houses of the townsfolk. The
elements, at least, of civic life were there; and tradition says that
in or near the village, for it was nothing more, some altars of the
Christian faith were set up during the seventh and eighth centuries.
Trade, too, soon began to flourish, and grew rapidly as the population
of the place increased. The Roya, flowing eastwards, fell into the
Zwijn, an arm of the sea, which then ran up close to the town, and on
which stood Damme, now a small inland village, but once a busy port
crowded with shipping. The commercial life of Bruges depended on the
Zwijn; and that much business was done before the close of the ninth
century is shown by the fact that Bruges had then a coinage of its
own.[2] It was from such small beginnings that this famous 'Venice of
the North' arose.

[Illustration: BRUGES

Porte d'Ostende.]


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 1: Gilliat-Smith, _The Story of Bruges_, p. 169 (Dent and
Co., London, 1901). Mr. Gilliat-Smith's book is a picturesque account
of Bruges in the Middle Ages. Of the English works relating to Bruges,
there is nothing better than Mr. Wilfrid Robinson's _Bruges, an
Historical Sketch_, a short and clear history, coming down to modern
times (Louis de Plancke, Bruges, 1899).]

[Footnote 2: Gilliodts van Severen, _Bruges Ancienne et Moderne_, pp.
7, 8, 9.]



CHAPTER II

BALDWIN BRAS-DE-FER--THE PLACE DU BOURG--MURDER OF CHARLES THE GOOD


Towards the end of the ninth and at the beginning of the tenth century
great changes took place on the banks of the Roya, and the foundations
of Bruges as we know it now were laid. Just as in the memorable years
1814 and 1815 the empire of Napoleon fell into fragments, and princes
and statesmen hastened to readjust the map of Europe in their own
interests, so in the ninth century the empire of Charlemagne was
crumbling away; and in the scramble for the spoils, the Normans carried
fire and sword into Flanders. Charles the Bald, King of the Franks,
at this crisis called to his aid the strong arm of Baldwin, a Flemish
chief of whose ancestry we know little, but who soon became famous as
Baldwin Bras-de-Fer--Baldwin of the Iron Arm, so called because, in
peace or war, he was never seen without his coat of mail. This grim
warrior had fallen in love with the daughter of Charles the Bald,
Judith, who had been already twice married, first to the Saxon King
Ethelwulf (after the death of his first wife Osberga, mother of Alfred
the Great) and secondly to Ethelbald, on whose death she left England
and went to live at Senlis. Baldwin persuaded the Princess to run away
with him; and they were married without the knowledge of her father,
to escape whose vengeance the culprits fled to Rome. Pope Nicholas
I. brought about a reconciliation; and Charles not only pardoned his
son-in-law, but appointed him ruler of Flanders under the title of
Marquis, which was afterwards changed into that of Count. It is to
the steel-clad Baldwin Bras-de-Fer that the Counts of Flanders trace
the origin of their title; and he was, moreover, the real founder of
that Bruges which rose to such glory in the Middle Ages, and is still,
though fallen from its high estate, the picturesque capital of West
Flanders, whither artists flock to wander about amidst the canals and
bridges, the dismantled ramparts, the narrow streets with their curious
houses, and the old buildings which bear such eloquent testimony to
the ruin which long ago overtook what was once an opulent and powerful
city. When the wrath of his father-in-law had been appeased, Baldwin,
now responsible for the defence of Flanders, came to Bruges with his
wife, and there established his Court. But the old burg, it seems,
was not thought capable of holding out against the Normans, who could
easily land on the banks of the Zwijn; and Baldwin, therefore, set
about building a new stronghold on the east side of the old burg, and
close to it. It was surrounded partly by the main stream of the Roya,
and partly by backwaters flowing from it. Here he built a fortress
for himself and his household, a church dedicated to St. Donatian, a
prison, and a 'ghiselhuis,' or house for the safe keeping of hostages.
The whole was enclosed by walls, built close to the edge of the
surrounding waters.

The Roya is now vaulted over where it ran along the west side of
Baldwin's stronghold, separating it from the original burg, and the
watercourses which defended it on the north and east are filled up;
but the stream on the south still remains in the shape of the canal
which skirts the Quai des Marbriers, from which a bridge leads by a
narrow lane, called the Rue de l'Âne Aveugle, under an arch of gilded
stonework, into the open space now known as the Place du Bourg. Here
we are at the very heart of Bruges, on the ground where Baldwin's
stronghold stood, with its four gates and drawbridges, and the high
walls frowning above the homes of the townsmen clustering round them.
The aspect of the place is completely changed since those early days. A
grove of chestnut-trees covers the site of the Church of St. Donatian;
not a stone remains of Bras-de-Fer's rude palace; and instead of the
prison and the hostage-house, there are the Hôtel de Ville, now more
than five hundred years old, from whose windows the Counts of Flanders
swore obedience to the statutes and privileges of the town, the Palais
de Justice, and the dark crypt beneath the chapel which shelters the
mysterious Relic of the Holy Blood.


[Illustration: BRUGES

Rue de l'Âne Aveugle (showing end of Town Hall and Bridge connecting it
with Palais de Justice).]

In summer it is a warm, quiet, pleasant spot. Under the shade of
the trees, near the statue of Van Eyck, women selling flowers sit
beside rows of geraniums, roses, lilies, pansies, which give a touch
of bright colour to the scene. Artists from all parts of Europe
set up their easels and paint. Young girls are gravely busy with
their water-colours. Black-robed nuns and bare-footed Carmelites
pass silently along. Perhaps some traveller from America opens his
guide-book to study the map of a city which had risen to greatness
long before Columbus crossed the seas. A few English people hurry
across, and pass under the archway of the Rue de l'Âne Aveugle on the
way to their tennis-ground beyond the Porte de Gand. The sunshine
glitters on the gilded façade of the Palais de Justice, and lights up
the statues in their niches on the front of the Hôtel de Ville. There
is no traffic, no noise. Everything is still and peaceful. The chimes,
ever and anon ringing out from the huge Belfry, which rises high above
the housetops to the west, alone break the silence.

This is Bruges sleeping peacefully in old age, lulled to rest by the
sound of its own carillon. But it is easy, standing there, to recall
the past, and to fancy the scenes which took place from time to time
throughout the long period of foreign danger and internal strife. We
can imagine the Bourg, now so peaceful, full of armed men, rushing to
the Church of St. Donatian on the morning when Charles the Good was
slain; how, in later times, the turbulent burghers, fiery partisans of
rival factions, Clauwerts shouting for the Flemish Lion, and Leliarts
marshalled under the Lily of France, raged and threatened; how the
stones were splashed with blood on the day of the Bruges Matins, when
so many Frenchmen perished; or what shouts were raised when the Flemish
host came back victorious from the Battle of the Golden Spurs.

Though every part of Bruges--not only the Bourg, but the great
Market-Place, and the whole maze of streets and lanes and canals of
which it consists--has a story of its own, some of these stories stand
out by themselves; and amongst these one of the most dramatic is the
story of the death of Charles the Good.

More than two hundred and fifty years had passed away since the coming
of Baldwin Bras-de-Fer; Bruges had spread far beyond the walls of the
Bourg; and Charles, who had succeeded his cousin Baldwin VII., was
Count of Flanders. He was called 'the Good' because of his just rule
and simple life, and still more, perhaps, because he clothed and fed
the poor--not only in Bruges, but throughout all Flanders. The common
people loved him, but his charities gave offence to the rich. He had,
moreover, incurred the special enmity of the Erembalds, a powerful
family, who, though not of noble origin themselves, were connected by
marriage with many noble houses. They had supported his claim to the
throne of Flanders, which had been disputed, and he had rewarded their
services by heaping favours on them. But, after a time, they began to
oppose the methods of government which Charles applied to Flanders.
They resented most of all one of his decrees which made it unlawful
for persons not in his service to carry arms in time of peace. This
decree, which was pronounced in order to prevent the daily scenes of
violence which Charles abhorred, was declared by the Erembalds to be an
interference with Flemish liberty. It did not affect them personally,
for they held office under the Count; but they none the less opposed it
vehemently.

While Charles was thus on bad terms with the Erembalds, a deadly
feud existed between them and the Straetens, another notable family,
which grew to such a height that the rival clans made open war upon
each other, pillaging, burning, and slaying after the manner of these
times. Charles called the leaders of both sides before him, and made
them swear to keep the peace; but when he was at Ypres in the autumn
of 1126, a complaint was laid before him that Bertulf, head of the
Erembalds, who was also Provost of St. Donatian's, had sent one of his
nephews, Burchard by name, on a raid into the lands of the Straetens,
whose cattle he had carried off. On hearing of this outrage, Charles
gave orders that Burchard's house should be pulled down, and that he
should compensate the Straetens for their losses. The Erembalds were
powerless to resist this order, and Burchard's house was razed to the
ground.

It has been said that this was only the beginning of strong measures
which Charles was about to take against the Erembalds; but there is no
certainty as to what his intentions really were. He then lived in the
Loove, a mansion which he had built in the Bourg at Bruges, on the site
now occupied by the Palais de Justice; and there, on his return from
Ypres, he had a meeting with some of the Erembalds, who had been sent
to plead on behalf of Burchard. As to what took place at this interview
there is some doubt. According to one account, Charles drank wine with
the delegates, and granted a free pardon to Burchard, on condition
that he kept the peace. According to another account, his demeanour
was so unbending that the Erembalds left his presence full of angry
suspicions, which they communicated to their friends. Whatever may have
happened, they were bent on mischief. Burchard was sent for, and
a secret consultation was held, after which Burchard and a chosen few
assembled in a house on the Bourg and arranged their plans. This was on
the night of March 1, 1127.

[Illustration: BRUGES

Quai du Rosaire.]

At break of day next morning a cold, heavy mist hung low over Bruges,
and in the Bourg everything was shrouded in darkness. But already some
poor men were waiting in the courtyard of the Loove, to whom Charles
gave alms on his way to early Mass in the Church of St. Donatian. Then
he went along a private passage which led into the church, and knelt
in prayer before the Lady Altar. It was his custom to give help to the
needy when in church, and he had just put some money into the hands of
a poor woman, when suddenly she called out: 'Beware, Sir Count!' He
turned quickly round, and there, sword in hand, was Burchard, who had
stolen up the dim aisle to where Charles was kneeling. The next moment
Burchard struck, and Charles fell dead upon the steps of the altar.

Then followed a scene of wild confusion. The woman ran out into the
Bourg, calling loudly that the Count was slain. In the midst of the
uproar some of the royal household fled in terror, while others who
entered the church were butchered by the Erembalds, who next attacked
the Loove, and, having pillaged it, rushed over Bruges, slaughtering
without mercy all who dared to oppose them.

After some time one of the Count's servants ventured to cover the dead
body with a winding-sheet, and to surround it with lighted tapers; and
there it remained lying on the pavement, until at last the Erembalds,
who were afraid to bury it in Bruges lest the sight of the tomb of
Charles the Good should one day rouse the townsmen to avenge his death,
sent a message to Ghent, begging the Abbot of St. Peter's to take it
away and bury it in his own church. The Abbot came to Bruges, and
before dawn the body of the murdered Count was being stealthily carried
along the aisles of St. Donatian's, when a great crowd rushed in,
declaring that the bones of Charles must be allowed to rest in peace at
Bruges. The arches rang with cries, chairs were overturned, stools and
candlesticks were thrown about, as the people, pressing and struggling
round the Abbot and his servants, told Bertulf, with many an oath, that
he must yield to their wishes. At last the Provost submitted, and on
the morrow, just two days after the murder, the body of Charles was
buried before the Lady Altar, on the very spot, it is said, where the
statue of Van Eyck now stands under the trees in the Bourg.

The triumph of the Erembalds was short, for the death of Charles the
Good was terribly avenged by his friends, who came to Bruges at the
head of a large force. A fierce struggle took place at the Rue de l'Âne
Aveugle, where many were slain. The Erembalds were driven into the
Bourg, the gates of which they shut; but an entrance was forced, and,
after desperate fighting, some thirty of them, all who remained alive,
were compelled to take refuge, first in the nave and then in the tower
of the Church of St. Donatian, where, defending themselves with the
courage of despair, they made a last stand, until, worn out by fatigue
and hunger, they surrendered and came down. Bertulf the Provost,
Burchard, and a few of the other ringleaders had fled some days before,
and so escaped, for a time at least, the fate of their companions,
who, having been imprisoned in a dungeon, were taken to the top of the
church tower and flung down one by one on to the stones of the Bourg.
'Their bodies,' says Mr. Gilliat-Smith, 'were thrown into a marsh
beyond the village of St. André, and for years afterwards no man after
nightfall would willingly pass that way.' In the Church of St. Sauveur
there is a costly shrine containing what are said to be the bones of
Charles the Good, taken from their first resting-place, at which twice
every year a festival is held in commemoration of his virtues.



CHAPTER III

THE BÉGUINAGE--CHURCHES--THE RELIC OF THE HOLY BLOOD


Bruges is one of the most Catholic towns in Catholic Flanders. Convents
and religious houses of all sorts have always flourished there, and
at present there are no less than forty-five of these establishments.
Probably one of the most interesting to English people is the Couvent
des Dames Anglaises, which was founded in 1629 by the English
Augustinian Nuns of Ste. Monica's Convent at Louvain. Its chapel, with
a fine dome of the eighteenth century, contains a beautiful altar built
of marbles brought from Egypt, Greece, and Persia; and amongst its
possessions is the rosary of Catherine of Braganza (Queen of Charles
II. of England), who died at Bruges.

And then there is the Béguinage. There are Béguinages at Amsterdam and
Breda, but with this exception of Holland, Belgium is now the only
country in Europe where these societies, the origin of whose name is
uncertain, are to be found. They consist of spinsters or widows, who,
though bound by a few conventual oaths during their connection with
the society, may return to the world. On entering each sister pays a
sum of money to the general funds, and at first lives for a time along
with other novices. At the end of this term of probation they are at
liberty to occupy one of the small dwellings within the precincts of
the Béguinage, and keep house for themselves. They spend their time in
sewing, making lace, educating poor children, visiting the sick, or
any form of good works for which they may have a taste. They are under
a Mother Superior, the 'Grande Dame,' appointed by the Bishop of the
diocese, and must attend the services in the church of their Béguinage.
Thus the Béguine, living generally in a house of her own, and free
to reenter the world, occupies a different position from the nuns of
the better-known Orders, though so long as she remains a member of
her society she is bound by the vows of chastity and obedience to her
ecclesiastical superiors.

[Illustration: BRUGES

The Béguinage.]

The Béguinage at Bruges, founded in the thirteenth century, is situated
near the Minnewater, or Lac d'Amour, which every visitor is taken to
see. This sheet of placid water, bordered by trees, which was a
harbour in the busy times, is one of the prettiest bits of Bruges;
and they say that if you go there at midnight, and stand upon the
bridge which crosses it on the south, any wish which you may form will
certainly come to pass. It is better to go alone, for strict silence
is necessary to insure the working of this charm. A bridge over the
water which runs from the Lac d'Amour leads through a gateway into the
Béguinage, where a circle of small houses--whitewashed, with stepped
gables, and green woodwork on the windows--surrounds a lawn planted
with tall trees. There is a view of the spire of Notre Dame beyond the
roofs, a favourite subject for the painters who come here in numbers
on summer afternoons. The Church of Ste. Elizabeth, an unpretentious
building, stands on one side of the lawn; and within it, many times a
day, the Sisters may be seen on their knees repeating the Offices of
the Church. When the service is finished they rise, remove their white
head-coverings, and return demurely to their quaint little homes.

Bruges has, needless to say, many churches, but nothing which can be
compared to the magnificent Cathedral of Antwerp, to the imposing front
of Ste. Gudule at Brussels, or to the huge mass which forms such a
conspicuous landmark for several leagues round Malines. Still, some of
the churches are not without interest: the Cathedral of St. Sauveur,
where the stalls of the Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece,
which was founded at Bruges, are to be seen in the choir, and over one
of them the arms of Edward IV. of England; the curious little Church of
Jerusalem, with its 'Holy Sepulchre,' an exact copy of the traditionary
grave in Palestine--a dark vault, entered by a passage so low that one
must crawl through it, and where a light burns before a figure which
lies there wrapped in a linen cloth; and the Church of Notre Dame,
which contains some treasures, such as a lovely white marble statue
of the Virgin and Child, from the chisel of Michael Angelo; the tombs
of Charles the Bold of Burgundy and his daughter--the 'Gentle Mary,'
whose untimely death at Bruges in 1482, after a short married life,
saved her from witnessing the misfortunes which clouded the last years
of her husband, the Archduke Maximilian; and a portion of the Holy
Cross, which came to Bruges in the fifteenth century. The story goes
that a rich merchant, a Dutchman from Dordrecht, Schoutteeten by name,
who lived at Bruges, was travelling through Syria in the year 1380.
One day, when journeying with a caravan, he saw a man hiding something
in a wood, and, following him, discovered that it was a box, which
he suspected might contain something valuable. Mijnheer Schoutteeten
appropriated the box, and carried it home from Syria to Dordrecht,
where a series of miracles began to occur of such a nature as to make
it practically certain that the box (or some wood which it contained,
for on this point the legend is vague) was a part of the true Cross!
In course of time Schoutteeten died in the odour of sanctity, having
on his death-bed expressed a wish that the wood which he had brought
from the East should be given to the Church of Notre Dame at Bruges.
His widow consoled herself by taking a second husband, who, Uutenhove
by name, fulfilled the pious request of his predecessor, and thus
another relic was added to the large collection which is preserved in
the various churches and religious houses of Bruges. It was brought to
Flanders in the year 1473, and must have been a source of considerable
revenue to the Church since then.

The buildings of Notre Dame, with the well-known Gruthuise Mansion
which adjoins them, and the singularly graceful spire, higher than the
Belfry tower, rising from the exquisite portico called 'Het Paradijs,'
form a very beautiful group; but, with this exception, there is nothing
remarkable about the churches of Bruges. One of them, however, has a
peculiar interest--the Chapelle du Saint-Sang, which stands in the
Place du Bourg in the corner next to the Hôtel de Ville. It is built
in two stories. The lower, a dark, solemn chapel, like a crypt, was
dedicated to St. Basil at an early period, and is one of the oldest
buildings in Bruges. The greater part of the upper story does not date
further back than the fifteenth century. But it is not the fabric
itself, venerable though that is, but what it contains, that makes this
place the Holy of Holies in the religious life of Bruges; for here, in
a costly shrine of gold and silver adorned with precious stones, they
guard the wonderful relic which was brought from Palestine in the time
of the Crusaders by Thierry d'Alsace, Count of Flanders, and which is
still worshipped by thousands of devout believers every year.

Thierry d'Alsace, the old chroniclers tell us, visited the Holy Land
four times, and was the leader of the Flemish warriors who, roused by
the eloquence of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, joined the second Crusade
in the summer of 1147. He had married Sybilla, sister of Baldwin, King
of Jerusalem; and when the time came for his return to Europe, his
brother-in-law and the Patriarch of Jerusalem resolved to reward his
services by giving him a part of the most valuable relic which the
Church in Palestine possessed, which was a small quantity of a red
liquid, said to be blood and water, which, according to immemorial
tradition, Joseph of Arimathæa had preserved after he had washed the
dead body of Jesus.

The earlier history of this relic is unknown, and is as obscure as
that of the other 'Relics of the Holy Blood' which are to be found
in various places. But there can be no doubt whatever that in the
twelfth century the Christians at Jerusalem believed that it had been
in existence since the day of the Crucifixion. It was, therefore,
presented to Thierry with great solemnity in the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre during the Christmas festivals of 1148. The Patriarch, having
displayed the vessel which contained it to the people, divided the
contents into two portions, one of which he poured into a small vial,
the mouth of which was carefully sealed up and secured with gold wire.
This vessel was next enclosed in a crystal tube, shut at the ends with
golden stoppers, to which a chain of silver was attached. Then the
Patriarch gave the tube to Baldwin, from whose hands Thierry, kneeling
on the steps of the altar, received it with profound emotion.[3]

The Count, however, did not think his hands, which had shed so much
human blood, worthy to convey the relic home; and he entrusted it to
Leonius, chaplain of the Flemish Army, who hung it round his neck, and
so carried it to Bruges, where he arrived in May, 1150, along with
Thierry, who, mounted on a white horse led by two bare-footed monks,
and holding the relic in his hand, was conducted in state to the Bourg,
where he deposited the precious object in the Chapel of St. Basil,
which is commonly known as the Chapel of the Holy Blood.

After some time the relic was found to be dry, but, strange to say, it
became liquid, we are told upon the authority of Pope Clement V., every
Friday, 'usually at six o'clock.' This weekly miracle continued till
about the year 1325. Since then it has never taken place except once,
in 1388, when the vial containing the relic was being transferred to a
new crystal tube; and on this occasion William, Bishop of Ancona, was
astonished to see the relic turning redder than usual, and some drops,
as of newly-shed blood, flowing within the vial, which he was holding
in his hand. Many notable persons who were present, one of them the
Bishop of Lincoln, testified to this event!

Other miracles wrought through the agency of this relic are recorded.
A child which had been born dead was taken to the shrine, and came to
life after three days. A young girl who had suffered for twenty months
from an issue of blood, and for whom the doctors could do nothing, was
cured by the application of a piece of cloth which had been used to
cover the relic. Another girl who had been paralyzed for a long time,
being carried into the Chapel of St. Basil, was restored to complete
strength the moment she kissed the crystal tube. In December, 1689, a
fire broke out in the Bourg, and threatened to destroy the Hôtel de
Ville; but a priest brought forth the tube containing the relic, and
held it up before the flames, which were instantly extinguished. These
and many other similar miracles, confirmed by the oath of witnesses
and received by the Church at the present day as authentic, make the
relic an object of profound devotion to the people of Bruges and the
peasants of the surrounding country, who go in crowds to bow before it
twice every Friday, when it is exhibited for public worship.

It was nearly lost on several occasions in the days of almost constant
war, and during the French Revolution it was concealed for some years
in the house of a private citizen. The Chapel of St. Basil suffered
from the disturbed condition of the country, and when Napoleon came to
Bruges in 1810 it was such a complete wreck that the magistrates were
on the point of sweeping it away altogether. But Napoleon saved it,
declaring that when he looked on the ruins he fancied himself once more
amongst the antiquities of Egypt, and that to destroy them would be a
crime. Four years after the Battle of Waterloo the relic was brought
out from its hiding-place, and in 1856 the chapel was restored from the
designs of two English architects, William Brangwyn and Thomas Harper
King.[4]

On the first Monday after the 2nd of May every year the town of
Bruges is full of strangers, who have come to witness the celebrated
'Procession of the Holy Blood,' which there is good reason to believe
has taken place annually (except during the French Revolution) for the
last 755 years.

Very early in the day a Mass is celebrated in the Upper Chapel of the
Holy Blood, which is crowded to the doors. In the crypt, or lower
chapel, where many people are kneeling before the sacred images, the
gloom, the silence, the bent figures dimly seen in the faint yellow
light of a few tapers, make up a weird scene all the morning till
about nine o'clock, when the relic, in its 'châsse,' or tabernacle,
is carried to the Cathedral of St. Sauveur, and placed on the high
altar, while a pontifical Mass is celebrated by one of the Bishops.
When that is done, the procession starts on its march along the chief
thoroughfares of the town. The houses are decorated with flags, and
candles burn in almost every window. Through the narrow streets,
between crowds of people standing on the pavements or looking down from
the windows, while the church bells ring and wreaths of incense fill
the air, bands of music, squadrons of cavalry, crucifixes, shrines,
images, the banners of the parishes and the guilds, heralds in their
varied dresses, bareheaded pilgrims from England, France, and other
countries, pages, maidens in white, bearing palms, or crowns of thorn,
or garlands, priests with relics, acolytes and chanting choristers,
pass slowly along. The buffoonery of the Middle Ages, when giants,
ballet-dancers, and mythological characters figured in the scene, has
been abandoned; but Abraham and Isaac, King David and King Solomon,
Joseph and the Virgin Mary, the Magi, and many saints and martyrs,
walk in the long procession, which is closed by the Bishops and clergy
accompanying the gorgeous shrine containing the small tube of something
red like blood, before which all the people sink to the ground, and
remain kneeling till it has passed.

The proceedings of the day end with a benediction at an altar erected
in front of the Hôtel de Ville. The Bourg is filled from side to side
with those who have taken part in the procession, and by thousands
of spectators who have followed them from all parts of the town to
witness the closing scene. The crowd gathers under the trees and
along the sides of the square, the centre of which, occupied by the
processionists, is a mass of colour, above which the standards and
images which have been carried through the streets rise against the
dark background of the Hôtel de Ville and the Chapel of the Holy Blood.
The relic is taken out of the châsse, and a priest, standing on the
steps of the altar high above the crowd, holds it up to be worshipped.
Everyone bows low, and then, in dead silence, the mysterious object is
carried into the chapel, and with this the chief religious ceremony of
the year at Bruges is brought to a close.

There are sights in Bruges that night, within a stone's-throw of the
Chapel of the Holy Blood, which are worth seeing, they contrast so
strangely with all this fervour of religion.

The curtain has fallen upon the drama of the day. The flags are furled
and put aside. The vestments are in the sacristy. Shrines, canopies,
censers, all the objects carried in the procession, have disappeared
into the churches. The church doors are locked, and the images are left
to stand all night without so much as one solitary worshipper kneeling
before them. The Bourg is empty and dark, steeped in black shadows at
the door of the chapel where the relic has been laid to rest. It is all
quiet there, but a stroll through the Rue de l'Âne Aveugle and across
the canal by the bridge which leads to the purlieus of the fish-markets
brings one upon another scene. Every second house, if not every house,
is a café, 'herberg,' or 'estaminet,' with a bar and sanded floor and
some rough chairs and tables; and on the night of the Procession of the
Holy Blood they are crowded to the doors. Peasants from the country
are there in great force. For some days before and after the sacred
festival the villagers are in the habit of coming into Bruges--whole
families of them, father and mother, sons and daughters, all in their
best finery. They walk through the streets, following the route by
which the Holy Blood is carried, telling their beads and saying their
prayers, crossing themselves, and kneeling at any image of Christ, or
Madonna, or saint, which they may notice at the street corners. It is
curious to watch their sunburnt faces and uncouth ways as they slouch
along, their hands busy with their beads, and their lips never ceasing
for a moment to mutter prayer after prayer. They follow in the wake
of the Procession of the Holy Blood, or wait to fall upon their knees
when it passes and receive the blessing of the Bishop, who walks with
fingers raised, scattering benedictions from side to side. In the
evening, before starting for home, they go to the cafés.

As evening passes into night the sounds of music and dancing are heard.
At the doors people sit drinking round tables placed on the pavement
or in the rank, poisonous gutter. The hot air is heavy with the smell
of decayed fish. Inside the cafés men and women, old and young, are
dancing in the fetid atmosphere to jingling pianos or accordions.
The heat, the close, sour fumes of musty clothing, tobacco, beer,
gin, fried fish, and unwashed humanity, are overpowering. There are
disgusting sights in all directions. Fat women, with red, perspiring
faces and dirty fingers, still clutching their rosaries; tawdry girls,
field-workers, with flushed faces, dancing with country lads, most of
whom are more than half tipsy; ribald jokes and laughter and leering
eyes; reeling, drunken men; maudlin affection in one corner, and
jealous disputing in another; crying babies; beer and gin spilt on the
tables; and all sorts of indecency and hideous details which Swift
might have gloated over or Hogarth painted.

This is how the day of the Holy Blood procession is finished by
many of the countryfolk. The brutal cabaret comes after the prayers
and adoration of the morning! It is a world of contrasts. But soon
the lights are out, the shutters are put up, the last customer goes
staggering homewards, and the Belfry speaks again, as it spoke when
the sweet singer lay dreaming at the Fleur-de-Blé:

'In the ancient town of Bruges,
In the quaint old Flemish city,
As the evening shades descended,
Low and loud and sweetly blended,
Low at times and loud at times,
And changing like a poet's rhymes,
Rang the beautiful wild chimes
From the Belfry in the market
Of the ancient town of Bruges.
Then, with deep sonorous clangour,
Calmly answering their sweet anger,
When the wrangling bells had ended,
Slowly struck the clock eleven,
And, from out the silent heaven,
Silence on the town descended.
Silence, silence everywhere,
On the earth and in the air,
Save that footsteps here and there
Of some burgher home returning,
By the street lamps faintly burning,
For a moment woke the echoes
Of the ancient town of Bruges.'

[Illustration: BRUGES

Quai des Marbriers.]


FOOTNOTES

[Footnote 3: Canon van Haecke, _Le Précieux Sang à Bruges_
(fourth edition), pp. 95, 96.]

[Footnote 4: Gilliat-Smith, _The Story of Bruges_, p. 103.]



CHAPTER IV

THE BRUGES MATINS--BATTLE OF THE GOLDEN SPURS


The visitor to Bruges is reminded, wherever he goes, of the stirring
events which fill the chronicles of the town for several centuries.
Opposite the Belfry, in the middle of the Market-Place, is the monument
to Peter De Coninck and John Breidel, on which garlands of flowers are
laid every summer, in memory of what they did when the burghers rose
against the French in May, 1302; and amongst the modern frescoes which
cover the walls of the Grande Salle des Échevins in the Hôtel de Ville,
with its roof of fourteenth-century woodwork, is one which represents
the return from the Battle of the Golden Spurs, that famous fight in
which the hardy peasantry of Flanders overthrew the knights of France
whom Philip the Fair had sent to avenge the blood of the Frenchmen who
had died on the terrible morning of the 'Bruges Matins.'

The fourteenth century had opened. The town had now reached the
limits which have contained it ever since--an irregular oval with a
circumference of between four and five miles, surrounded by double
ditches, and a strong wall pierced by nine fortified gateways; and
as the town had grown, the privileges and liberties of the townsmen
had grown likewise. Sturdy, independent, and resolved to keep the
management of their own affairs in their own hands, the burghers
of Bruges, like those of the other Flemish towns, had succeeded in
establishing a system of self-government so complete that it roused
the opposition of Guy de Dampierre, Count of Flanders, whose efforts
to diminish the power of these communities at length brought about a
crisis which gave Philip the Fair of France an excuse for interfering.
The Count, having to contend both against his own subjects and against
the ambitions of the King of France, fell from power, and in the end
Flanders was annexed to France.

Soon after this rich province had been added to his domains, Philip
came with his wife, Joanna of Navarre, on a visit to Bruges. Already
there were two factions in the town--the Leliarts, or French party,
consisting chiefly of the upper classes, and the Clauwerts, or Flemish
party, to which the mass of the people belonged. By the former Philip
was received in royal fashion, and so magnificent were the dresses
and jewels worn by the wives and daughters of the nobles and rich
burgesses, who sat in the windows and balconies as the royal procession
passed along, that the Queen was moved to jealousy. 'I thought,' she
said, 'that I alone was Queen; but here in this place I have six
hundred rivals.' But in the streets below there were sullen looks and
murmurs of discontent, which grew louder and louder every day, when,
after the departure of the Court, the magistrates, who belonged to the
French party, proposed that the merchant guilds should find money to
defray some of the expenses which had been incurred on this occasion.

At this time Peter De Coninck was Dean of the Guild of Weavers, a man
of substance, popular and eloquent. There was a tumultuous gathering
in the Market-Place, when, standing in front of the Belfry, with the
leaders of five-and-twenty guilds around him, he declaimed on liberty,
and attacked the magistrates, calling on his fellow-townsmen to resist
the taxes. The city officers, on the order of the magistrates, arrested
De Coninck and his chief supporters, and hurried them to the prison in
the Bourg. But in a few hours the mob forced an entrance and released
them. The signal for revolt had been given, and for some months Bruges,
like the rest of Flanders, was in disorder. De Coninck, who had been
joined by John Breidel, Dean of the Guild of Butchers, was busy rousing
the people in all parts of the country. He visited Ghent, amongst other
places, and tried to persuade the magistrates that if Ghent and Bruges
united their forces the whole Flemish people would rise, crush the
Leliarts, and expel the French. But the men of Ghent would not listen
to him, and he returned to Bruges. Here, too, he met with a rebuff,
for the magistrates, having heard that Jacques de Châtillon, whom
Philip had made Governor of Flanders, was marching on the town, would
not allow him to remain amongst them. He went to Damme, and with him
went, not only Breidel, but 5,000 burghers of the national party, stout
Clauwerts, who had devoted themselves to regaining the liberty of their
country.

[Illustration: A FLEMISH YOUNG WOMAN]

When Châtillon rode up to the walls of Bruges and demanded entrance
the magistrates agreed to open the gates, on condition that he brought
with him only 300 men-at-arms. But he broke his word, and the town
was entered by 2,000 knights, whose haughty looks and threatening
language convinced the people that treachery was intended. It was
whispered in the Market-Place that the waggons which rumbled over the
drawbridges carried ropes with which the Clauwerts who had remained in
the town were to be hanged; that there was to be a general massacre,
in which not even the women and children would be spared; and that the
Frenchmen never unbuckled their swords or took off their armour, but
were ready to begin the slaughter at any moment. It was a day of terror
in Bruges, and when evening came some of the burghers slipped out, made
their way to Damme, and told De Coninck what was passing in the town.

That night Châtillon gave a feast to his chief officers, and amongst
his guests was Pierre Flotte, Chancellor of France, perhaps the ablest
of those jurists by whose evil councils Philip the Fair was encouraged
in the ideas of autocracy which led him to make the setting up of a
despotism the policy of his whole life. With Flotte--'that Belial,'
as Pope Boniface VIII. once called him--and the rest, Châtillon sat
revelling till a late hour. The night wore on; De Châtillon's party
broke up, and went to rest; the weary sentinels were half asleep at
their posts; and soon all Bruges was buried in silence. Here and there
lights twinkled in some of the guild-houses, where a few of the
burghers sat anxiously waiting for what the morrow might bring forth,
while others went to the ramparts on the north, and strained their eyes
to see if help was coming from Damme.

At early dawn--it was Friday, May 18, 1302--the watchers on the
ramparts saw a host of armed men rapidly approaching the town. They
were divided into two parties, one of which, led by De Coninck, made
for the Porte Ste. Croix, while the other, under Breidel, marched
to the Porte de Damme, a gateway which no longer exists, but which
was then one of the most important entrances, being that by which
travellers came from Damme and Sluis. Messengers from the ramparts ran
swiftly through the streets, in which daylight was now beginning to
appear, and spread the news from house to house. Silently the burghers
took their swords and pikes, left their homes, and gathered in the
Market-Place and near the houses in which the French were sleeping. The
French slept on till, all of a sudden, they were wakened by the tramp
of feet, the clash of arms, and shouts of 'Flanders for the Lion!'
Breidel had led his men into the town, and they were rushing through
the streets to where Châtillon had taken up his quarters, while De
Coninck, having passed through the Porte Ste. Croix, was marching to
the Bourg. The Frenchmen, bewildered, surprised, and only half awake,
ran out into the streets. The Flemings were shouting 'Schilt ende
Vriendt! Schilt ende Vriendt!'[5] and every man who could not pronounce
these words was known to be a Frenchman, and slain upon the spot. Some
fled to the gates; but at every gate they found a band of guards, who
called out 'Schilt ende Vriendt!' and put them to the sword.

All that summer's morning, and on throughout the day, the massacre
continued. Old men, women, and children hurled stones from the roofs
and windows down upon the enemy. Breidel, a man of great strength,
killed many with his own hand, and those whom he wounded were beaten
to death where they fell by the apprentices with their iron clubs. In
the Market-Place, close to where the monument to De Coninck and Breidel
stands, a party of soldiers, under a gallant French knight, Gauthier
de Sapignies, made a stand; but they were overpowered and slaughtered
to the last man. Châtillon tried to rally his forces, but the surprise
had been too complete, and, disguising himself in the cassock of a
priest, he hid, in company with Chancellor Flotte, till it was dark,
when they managed to escape from the town. By this time the carnage had
ceased; the walls of the houses and the gutters ran with blood; and
the burghers of Bruges had done their work so thoroughly that 2,000
Frenchmen lay dead upon the streets.

But the final reckoning with France was yet to come. When Châtillon
reached Paris and told his master the direful story of the Bruges
Matins, Philip swore revenge; and a few weeks later an army 40,000
strong invaded Flanders, under the Comte d'Artois, with whom rode also
Châtillon, Flotte, and many nobles of France. The Flemings went to meet
them--not only the burghers of Bruges, led by De Coninck and Breidel,
marching under the banners of their guilds, but men from every part of
Flanders--and on July 11, near Courtrai, the Battle of the Golden Spurs
was fought.

[Illustration: A FLEMISH BURGHER]

The ground was marshy, with a stream and pools of water between
the two armies; and just as the Scots at Bannockburn, twelve years
afterwards, prepared pitfalls for the heavy cavalry of England, so the
Flemings laid a trap for the French knights by cutting down brushwood
and covering the water. The horsemen, clad in cumbrous armour,
charged, the brushwood gave way, and most of them sank into the water.
The Comte d'Artois got clear, but was beaten to the ground and killed.
The Chancellor Flotte, who had boasted that he would bring the people
of Bruges to their knees, was trampled to death. Châtillon died too;
and when, at last, a long day's fighting came to an end, the Flemings
had gained a complete victory. By this battle, which took its name from
the thousands of golden spurs which were torn from the French knights
who fell, the victors secured--for a time, at least--the liberty of
their country, and the memory of it was for many a day to Flanders
what the memory of Bannockburn was to Scotland or of Morgarten to
Switzerland.

FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 5: 'Shield and Friend!']



CHAPTER V

DAMME--THE SEA-FIGHT AT SLUIS--SPLENDOUR OF BRUGES IN THE MIDDLE
AGES--THE FALL AND LOSS OF TRADE


Damme, where the patriots mustered on the eve of the Bruges Matins,
is within a short hour's stroll from the east end of the town. The
Roya, which disappears from view, as we have already seen, opposite
the Quai du Rosaire, emerges from its hidden course at the west end
of the Quai du Miroir, where the statue of Jan van Eyck stands near
the door of the building now used as a public library. This building
was once the Customs House of Bruges, conveniently situated in the
neighbourhood of the Market-Place, and on the side of the Roya, which
thence stretches eastwards between the Quai du Miroir and the Quai
Spinola for a few hundred yards, and then turns sharply to the north,
and continues between the Quai Long and the Quai de la Potterie, which
are built in rambling fashion on either side of the water. Some of
the houses are old, others of no earlier date, apparently, than the
seventeenth or eighteenth centuries; some large and well preserved,
and some mere cottages, half ruinous, with low gables and faded yellow
fronts, huddled together on the rough causeway, alongside of which are
moored canal-boats with brown hulls and deck-houses gay with white
and green paint. At the end of the Quai de la Potterie is the modern
Bassin de Commerce, in which the Roya loses itself, the harbour for the
barges and small steamers which come by the canal connecting Ostend
with Bruges and Ghent; and near this was, in ancient days, the Porte de
Damme, through which Breidel and his followers burst on that fateful
morning in May 600 years ago.

To the right of the Bassin a broad canal, constructed by Napoleon in
1810, extends in a straight line eastwards, contained within dykes
which raise it above a wide expanse of level meadow-lands intersected
by ditches, and dotted here and there by the white-walled cottages with
red roofs and green outside shutters which are so typical of Flemish
scenery. About two miles out of Bruges one comes in sight of a windmill
perched on a slope at the side of the canal, a square church-tower,
a few houses, and some grassy mounds, which were once strong
fortifications. Even the historical imagination, which everyone who
walks round Bruges must carry with him, is hardly equal to realizing
that this was once a bustling seaport, with a harbour in which more
than a hundred merchant ships, laden with produce from all parts of
the world, were sometimes lying at the same time. In those busy times
Damme, they say, contained 50,000 inhabitants; now there are only about
1,100.

Beyond Damme the canal winds on through the same flat landscape,
low-lying, water-logged, with small farm-houses and scanty trees, and
in the distance, on the few patches of higher ground, the churches
of Oostkerke and Westcapelle. At last, soon after passing the Dutch
frontier, the canal ends in a little dock with gray, lichen-covered
sides; and this is Sluis, a dull place, with a few narrow streets, a
market-place, two churches, and a belfry of the fourteenth century.
It is quite inland now, miles from the salt water; and from the high
ramparts which still surround it the view extends to the north across
broad green fields, covering what was once the bed of the sea, in the
days when the tide ebbed and flowed in the channel of the Zwijn, over
which ships passed sailing on their way to Bruges. But any English
traveller who, having gone a little way out of the beaten track of
summer tourists, may chance to mount the ramparts, and look down upon
the fields which stretch away to the shores of the North Sea and the
estuary of the Scheldt, and inland beyond Damme to the Belfry and the
spires of Bruges, is gazing on the scene of a great event in the naval
history of England.

Here, on what is now dry land, on the morning of June 24, 1340, 800
ships of war, full of armed men--35,000 of them--were drawn up in line
of battle; and further out to sea, beyond the entrance of the Zwijn,
the newly-risen sun was shining on the sails of another fleet which was
manoeuvring in the offing.

[Illustration: BRUGES

Quai du Miroir.]

'In the cities of Flanders,' says Dr. Gardiner, 'had arisen
manufacturing populations which supplied the countries round with
the products of the loom. To the Ghent and Bruges of the Middle Ages
England stood in the same relation as that which the Australian
colonies hold to the Leeds and Bradford of our own day. The sheep which
grazed over the wide, unenclosed pasture-lands of our island formed a
great part of the wealth of England, and that wealth depended entirely
on the flourishing trade with the Flemish towns in which English
wool was converted into cloth.' When, therefore, Edward III. claimed
the throne of France, and the Hundred Years' War began, it was of vital
importance to the trade of Flanders and England that the merchants of
the two countries should maintain friendly relations with each other.
But Philip of Valois had persuaded the Count of Flanders, Louis de
Nevers, to order the arrest of all the English in Flanders, and Edward
had retaliated by arresting all the Flemings who were in England,
and forbidding the export of English wool to Flanders. The result
was that the weavers of Bruges and the other manufacturing towns of
Flanders found themselves on the road to ruin; and, having no interest
in the question at issue between the Kings of France and England,
apart from its effect on their commercial prosperity, the burghers of
Bruges, Ghent, and Ypres, under the leadership of the famous Jacob van
Artevelde (anticipating, as one of the modern historians of Bruges has
noticed, what the Great Powers did for Belgium in 1830[6]), succeeded
in securing, with the assent of Philip, the neutrality of Flanders.
The French King, however, did not keep faith with the Flemings, but
proceeded to acts of aggression against them, and a league against
France was formed between England and Flanders.

In June, 1340, Edward, who was then in England, hearing that an immense
number of French ships of war were at anchor in the Zwijn, set sail
to give them battle with a squadron of 300 vessels. The English fleet
anchored off the coast between Blankenberghe and Heyst on the evening
of June 23, and from the top of the dunes the English scouts saw in the
distance the masts of the French ships in the Zwijn.

As soon as there was light next morning, the English weighed anchor
and sailed along the coast to the east; past lonely yellow sands,
which have swarmed during recent years with workmen toiling at the
construction of the immense harbour of See-Brugge, which is to be the
future port of Bruges; past what was then the small fishing hamlet of
Heyst; past a range of barren dunes, amongst which to-day Duinbergen,
the latest of the Flemish watering-places, with its spacious hotel and
trim villas, is being laid out; past a waste of storm-swept sand and
rushes, on which are now the digue of Knocke, a cluster of hotels and
crowded lodging-houses, and a golf-course; and so onwards till they
opened the mouth of the Zwijn, and saw the French ships crowding the
entrance, 'their masts appearing to be like a great wood,' and beyond
them the walls of Sluis rising from the wet sands left by the receding
tide.

It was low-water, and while waiting for the turn of the tide the
English fleet stood out to sea for some time, so that Nicholas
Béhuchet, the French Admiral, began to flatter himself that King
Edward, finding himself so completely outnumbered, would not dare to
risk fighting against such odds. The odds, indeed, were nearly three to
one against the English seamen; but as soon as the tide began to flow
they steered straight into the channel, and, Edward leading the van,
came to close quarters, ship to ship. The famous archers of England,
who six years later were to do such execution at Crécy, lined the
bulwarks, and poured in a tempest of arrows so thick that men fell
from the tops of the French ships like leaves before a storm. The
first of the four lines in which Béhuchet had drawn up his fleet was
speedily broken, and the English, brandishing their swords and pikes,
boarded the French ships, drove their crews overboard, and hoisted the
flag of England. King Edward was wounded, and the issue may have been
doubtful, when suddenly more ships, coming from the North of England,
appeared in sight, and hordes of Flemings from all parts of Flanders,
from the coast, and even from inland towns so far away as Ypres,[7]
came swarming in boats to join in the attack. This decided the fate
of the great battle, which continued till sunset. When it ended, the
French fleet had ceased to exist, with the exception of a few ships
which escaped when it was dark. The Flemings captured Béhuchet, and
hung him then and there. Nearly 30,000 of his men perished, many of
whom were drowned while attempting to swim ashore, or were clubbed to
death by the Flemings who lined the beach, waiting to take vengeance
on the invaders for having burned their homesteads and carried off
their flocks. The English lost two ships and 4,000 men; but the victory
was so complete that no courtier was bold enough to carry the news to
King Philip, who did not know what had befallen his great fleet till
the Court jester went to him, and said, 'Oh! the English cowards! the
English cowards! they had not the courage to jump into the sea as our
noble Frenchmen did at Sluis.'

It is strange to think that Flemish peasants work, and cattle feed,
and holiday visitors from Knocke, or Sluis, or Kadzand ramble about
dry-shod where the waves were rolling in on that midsummer's morning,
and that far beneath the grass the timbers of so many stout ships and
the bones of so many valiant seamen have long since mouldered away. And
it is also strange to think, when wandering along the canals of Bruges,
where now the swans glide silently about in the almost stagnant water
which laps the basements of the old houses, how in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries ships of every nation carried in great bales of
merchandise, and that rich traders stored them in warehouses and strong
vaults, which are now mere coal-cellars, or the dark and empty haunts
of the rats which swarm in the canals.

'There is,' says Mr. Robinson, 'in the National Library at Paris a
list of the kingdoms and cities which sent their produce to Bruges at
that time. England sent wool, lead, tin, coal, and cheese; Ireland and
Scotland, chiefly hides and wool; Denmark, pigs; Russia, Hungary, and
Bohemia, large quantities of wax; Poland, gold and silver; Germany,
wine; Liége, copper kettles; and Bulgaria, furs.' After naming many
parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, that sent goods, the manuscript
adds: 'And all the aforesaid realms and regions send their merchants
with wares to Flanders, besides those who come from France, Poitou, and
Gascony, and from the three islands of which we know not the names of
their kingdoms.' The trade of Bruges was enormous. People flocked there
from all quarters.

  'Lombard and Venetian merchants with deep-laden argosies;
  Ministers from twenty nations; more than royal pomp and ease.'

We read of 150 ships entering in one day, and of German merchants
buying 2,600 pieces of cloth, made by Flemish weavers, in a morning's
marketing. A citizen of Bruges was always at the head of the Hanseatic
League, and maintained the rights of that vast commercial society
under the title of 'Comte de la Hanse.' Merchant princes, members of
the Hanse, lived here in palaces. Money-changers grew rich. Edward
III. borrowed from the Bardi at Bruges on the security of the Crown
jewels of England. Contracts of insurance against maritime risks were
entered into from an early period, and the merchant shipping code which
regulated traffic by sea was known as the 'Röles de Damme.'[8] There
were twenty consulates at one time in Bruges, and the population of
the town is said, though it is difficult to believe that this is not an
exaggeration, to have been more than 200,000 before the middle of the
fourteenth century.

Six years after the Battle of Sluis, Louis of Nevers was killed at
Crecy, and his son, Louis of Maele, reigned in his stead as Count of
Flanders. He was a Leliart to the core, and his reign of nearly forty
years, one long struggle against the liberties of his people, witnessed
the capture of Bruges by Philip van Artevelde, the invasion of Flanders
by the French, the defeat of the Nationalists, and the death of Van
Artevelde on the field of Roosebeke. Nevertheless, during this period
and after it Bruges grew in beauty and in wealth. The Hôtel de Ville,
without the grandeur of the Hôtel de Ville at Brussels, but still a gem
of mediæval architecture, was built on the site of the old 'Ghiselhuis'
of Baldwin Bras-de-Fer. Other noble buildings, rich in design and
beautiful in all their outlines, and great mansions, with marble halls
and ceilings of exquisitely carved woodwork, rose on every side; towers
and pinnacles, shapely windows and graceful arches, overhung the
waterways; luxury increased; in the homes of the nobles and wealthy
merchants were stores of precious stones, tapestries, silk, fine
linen, cloth of gold; the churches and many buildings gleamed with
gilded stone and tinted glass and brilliant frescoes. Art flourished as
the town grew richer. The elder and the younger Van Eyck, Gerard David,
and Memlinc, with many others before and after them, were attracted by
its splendour, as modern painters have been attracted by its decay; and
though the 'Adoration of the Immaculate Lamb' hangs in the choir of St.
Bavon at Ghent, the genius which coloured that matchless altar-piece
found its inspiration within the walls of Bruges.

The history of Bruges for many long years, especially under the
rule of the House of Burgundy, was, in the midst of war, turmoil,
and rebellion, the history of continuous progress. But all this
prosperity depended on the sea. So long as the Zwijn remained open,
neither war nor faction, not even the last great rising against the
Archduke Maximilian, which drove away the foreign merchants, most
of whom went to Antwerp, and so impoverished the town that no less
than 5,000 houses were standing empty in the year 1405,[9] could have
entirely ruined Bruges. These disasters might have been retrieved if
the channel of communication with Damme and Sluis had not been lost;
but for a long time the condition of this important waterway had been
the cause of grave anxiety to the people of Bruges. The heavy volume
of water which poured with every ebbing tide down the Scheldt between
Flushing and Breskens swept past the island of Walcheren, and spread
out into the North Sea and down the English Channel, leaving the mud
it carried with it on the sands round the mouth of the Zwijn, which
itself did not discharge a current strong enough to prevent the slow
but sure formation of a bank across its entrance. Charters, moreover,
had been granted to various persons, under which they drained the
adjoining lands, and gradually reclaimed large portions from the sea.
The channel, at no time very deep, became shallower, narrower, and
more difficult of access, until at last, during the second half of the
fifteenth century, the passage between Sluis and Damme was navigable
only by small ships. Soon the harbour at Damme was nearly choked up
with sand. Many schemes were tried in the hope of preserving the Zwijn,
but the sea-trade of Bruges dwindled away to a mere nothing, and
finally disappeared before the middle of the sixteenth century. And so
Bruges fell from greatness. There are still some traces of the ancient
bed of the Zwijn amongst the fields near Coolkerke, a village a short
distance to the north of Bruges--a broad ditch with broken banks, and
large pools of slimy water lying desolate and forlorn in a wilderness
of tangled bushes. These are now the only remains of the highway by
which the 'deep-laden argosies' used to enter in the days of old.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 6: Robinson, _Bruges, an Historical Sketch_, p. 107.]

[Footnote 7: Vereecke, _Histoire Militaire de la Ville d'Ypres_, p. 36.]

[Footnote 8: Gilliodts van Severen, _Bruges Ancienne et Moderne_, p.
14.]

[Footnote 9: Gilliodts van Severen, p. 25.]



CHAPTER VI

'BRUGES LA MORTE'


They call it 'Bruges la Morte,' and at every turn there is something to
remind us of the deadly blight which fell upon the city when its trade
was lost. The faded colours, the timeworn brickwork, the indescribable
look of decay which, even on the brightest morning, throws a shade of
melancholy over the whole place, lead one to think of some aged dame,
who has 'come down in the world,' wearing out the finery of better
days. It is all very sad and pathetic, but strangely beautiful, and the
painter never lived who could put on canvas the mellow tints with which
Time has clothed these old walls, and thus veiled with tender hand
the havoc it has made. To stand on the bridge which crosses the canal
at the corner of the Quai des Marbriers and the Quai Vert, where the
pinnacles of the Palais du Franc and the roof of the Hôtel de Ville,
with the Belfry just showing above them, and dull red walls rising from
the water, make up a unique picture of still-life, is to read a sermon
in stones, an impressive lesson in history.

The loss of trade brought Bruges face to face with the 'question of
the unemployed' in a very aggravated form. How to provide for the poor
became a most serious problem, and so many of the people were reduced
to living on charity that almshouses sprang up all over the town. God's
Houses ('Godshuisen') they called them, and call them still. They are
to be found in all directions--quaint little places, planted down
here and there, each with a small chapel of its own, with moss-grown
roofs and dingy walls, and doors that open on to the uneven cobbles.
Every stone of them spells pauperism. The Church does much towards
maintaining these shelters for the poor--perhaps too much, if it is
true that there are 10,000 paupers in Bruges out of a population of
about 55,000. There is a great deal of begging in the streets, and a
sad lack of sturdy self-respect amongst the lower class, which many
think is caused by the system of doles, for which the Church is chiefly
responsible. Bruges might not have been so picturesque to-day if her
commerce had survived; but the beauty of a town is dearly purchased at
the cost of such degradation and loss of personal independence.

[Illustration: BRUGES

View of the Palais du Franc.]

It was not only the working class which suffered. Many rich families
sank into poverty, and their homes, some of which were more like
palaces than private houses, had to be dismantled. The fate of one of
these lordly mansions is connected with an episode which carries us
back into the social life of Bruges in the middle of the seventeenth
century. On the right side of the Rue Haute, as one goes from the
Place du Bourg, there is a high block containing two large houses,
Nos. 6 and 8, of that street. It is now a big, plain building without
a trace of architectural distinction; but in the seventeenth century
it was a single mansion, built about the year 1320, and was one of the
many houses with towers which gave the Bruges of that time almost the
appearance of an Oriental city. It was called the House of the Seven
Towers, from the seven pinnacles which surmounted it; and at the back
there was a large garden, which extended to the canal and Quai des
Marbriers.

In April, 1656, the 'tall man above two yards high, with dark brown
hair, scarcely to be distinguished from black,' for whom the Roundheads
had searched all England after the Battle of Worcester, found his way
to Bruges, with his brother Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and the train
of Royalists who formed their Court. For nearly three years after
Worcester, Charles II. had lived in France; but in July, 1654, the
alliance between Cromwell and Mazarin drove him to Germany, where
he remained till Don John of Austria became Governor of the Spanish
Netherlands. Thereupon the prospect of recovering the English throne
by the assistance of Spain led him to remove his Court, which had been
established for some time at Cologne, to Flanders. He arrived at Bruges
on April 22, 1656. His brother James, Duke of York, and afterwards King
of England, held a commission in the French army, and Mazarin offered
him a command in Italy. Charles, however, requested him to leave the
French army, and enter the service of Spain. At first James refused;
but by the mediation of their sister, the Princess of Orange, he was
persuaded to do as his brother wished, and join the Court at Bruges.
The Irish Viscount Tarah received Charles, when he first arrived, in
his house in the Rue du Vieux Bourg, and there gave him, we read in
local history, 'une brillante hospitalité.' But in the beginning of
June the Court took up its quarters in the House of the Seven Towers.

During his sojourn in Flanders, Charles was carefully watched by the
secret service officers of the Commonwealth Government, who sent home
reports of all he did. These reports, many of which are in the Thurloe
State Papers and other collections, contain some curious details about
the exiled Court.

There never was a more interesting 'English colony' at Bruges than at
that time. Hyde, who received the Great Seal at Bruges, was there with
Ormonde and the Earls of Bristol, Norwich, and Rochester. Sir Edward
Nicholas was Secretary of State; and we read of Colonel Sydenham, Sir
Robert Murray, and 'Mr. Cairless', who sat on the tree with Charles
Stewart after Worcester fight. Another of the exiles at Bruges was
Sir James Turner, the soldier of fortune, who served under Gustavus
Adolphus, persecuted the Covenanters in Scotland, and is usually
supposed to have been the original of Dugald Dalgetty in Sir Walter
Scott's _Legend of Montrose_. A list of the royal household is still
preserved at Bruges. It was prepared in order that the town council
might fix the daily allowance of wine and beer which was to be given to
the Court, and contains the names of about sixty persons, with a note
of the supply granted to each family.

A 'Letter of Intelligence' (the report of a spy), dated from Bruges
on September 29, 1656, mentions that Lilly, the astrologer of London,
had written to say that the King would be restored to the throne next
year, and that all the English at Bruges were delighted. But in the
meantime they were very hard up for ready money. Ever since leaving
England Charles and his followers had suffered from the most direful
impecuniosity. We find Hyde declaring that he has 'neither shoes nor
shirt.' The King himself was constantly running into debt for his
meals, and his friends spent many a hungry day at Bruges. If by good
luck they chanced to be in funds, one meal a day sufficed for a party
of half a dozen courtiers. If it was cold they could not afford to
purchase firewood. The Earl of Norwich writes, saying that he has to
move about so as to get lodgings on credit, and avoid people to whom
he owes money. Colonel Borthwick, who claims to have served the King
most faithfully, complains that he is in prison at Bruges on suspicion
of disloyalty, has not changed his clothes for three years, and is
compelled by lack of cash to go without a fire in winter. Sir James
Hamilton, a gentleman-in-waiting, gets drunk one day, and threatens to
kill the Lord Chancellor. He is starving, and declares it is Hyde's
fault that the King gives him no money. He will put on a clean
shirt to be hanged in, and not run away, being without so much as a
penny. Then we have the petition of a poor fencing-master. 'Heaven,'
he writes piteously, 'hears the groans of the lowest creatures, and
therefore I trust that you, being a terrestrial deity, will not disdain
my supplication.' He had come from Cologne to Bruges to teach the royal
household, and wanted his wages, for he and his family were starving.

[Illustration: BRUGES

Maison du Pélican (Almshouse).]

Don John of Austria visited Charles at Bruges, and an allowance from
the King of Spain was promised, so that men might be levied for the
operations against Cromwell; but the payments were few and irregular.
'The English Court,' says a letter of February, 1657, 'remains still at
Bridges [Bruges], never in greater want, nor greater expectations of
money, without which all their levies are like to be at a stand; for
Englishmen cannot live on bread alone.'

A 'Letter of Intelligence' sent from Sluis says that Charles is 'much
loocked upon, but littell respeckted.' And this is not wonderful if
the reports sent home by the Commonwealth agents are to be trusted.
One of the spies who haunted the neighbourhood of Bruges was a Mr.
Butler, who writes in the winter of 1656-1657: 'This last week one of
the richest churches in Bruges was plundered in the night. The people
of Bruges are fully persuaded that Charles Stewart's followers have
done it. They spare no pains to find out the guilty, and if it happen
to light upon any of Charles Stewart's train, it will mightily incense
that people against them.... There is now a company of French comedians
at Bruges, who are very punctually attended by Charles Stewart and his
Court, and all the ladies there. Their most solemn day of acting is
the Lord's Day. I think I may truly say that greater abominations were
never practised among people than at this day at Charles Stewart's
Court. Fornication, drunkenness, and adultery are esteemed no sins
amongst them; so I persuade myself God will never prosper any of their
attempts.'[10] In another letter we read that once, after a hunting
expedition, Charles and a gentleman of the bedchamber were the only two
who came back sober. Sir James Turner was mad when drunk, 'and that was
pretty often,' says Bishop Burnet.

But, of course, it was the business of the spies to blacken the
character of Charles; and there can be little doubt that, in spite of
his poverty and loose morals, he was well liked by the citizens of
Bruges, who, notwithstanding a great deal of outward decorum, have
at no time been very strait-laced. 'Charles,' we learn from a local
history, 'sut se rendre populaire en prenant part aux amusements de la
population et en se pliant, sans effort comme sans affectation, aux
usages du pays.' During his whole period of exile he contrived to amuse
himself. Affairs of gallantry, dancing, tennis, billiards, and other
frivolous pursuits, occupied as much of his attention as the grave
affairs of State over which Hyde and Ormonde spent so many anxious
hours. When on a visit to Brussels in the spring of 1657, he employed,
we are told, most of his time with Don John dancing, or at 'long paume,
a Spanish play with balls filled with wire.' And, again: 'He passes his
time with shooting at Bruges, and such other obscure pastimes.'

This 'shooting' was the favourite Flemish sport of shooting with bow
and arrows at an artificial bird fixed on a high pole, the prize being,
on great occasions, a golden bird, which was hung by a chain of gold
round the winner's neck. In the records of the Guilds of St. George
and St. Sebastian at Bruges there are notices relating to Charles.
The former was a society of cross-bowmen, the latter of archers. On
June 11, 1656, Charles and the Duke of Gloucester were at the festival
of the Society of St. George. Charles was the first to try his skill,
and managed to hit the mark. After the Duke and many others had shot,
Peter Pruyssenaere, a wine merchant in the Rue du Vieux Bourg, brought
down the bird, and Charles hung the golden 'Bird of Honour' round his
neck. On June 25 Charles visited the Society of St. Sebastian, when
Michael Noé, a gardener, was the winner. The King and Gloucester both
became members of the St. Sebastian, which is still a flourishing
society. Going along the Rue des Carmes, the traveller passes the
English convent on the left, and on the right, at the end of the
street, comes to the Guildhouse of St. Sebastian, with its slender
tower and quiet garden, one of the pleasantest spots in Bruges. There
the names of Charles and his brother are to be seen inscribed in a
small volume bound in red morocco, the 'Bird of Honour' with its chain
of gold, a silver arrow presented by the Duke of Gloucester, and some
other interesting relics. On September 15, 1843, Queen Victoria, Prince
Albert, King Leopold I., and the Queen of the Belgians, went to the
Rue des Carmes and signed their names as members of this society, which
now possesses two silver cups, presented by the Queen of England in
1845 and 1893. The Duke of York seems to have been successful as an
archer, for in the Hôtel de Ville at Bruges there is a picture by John
van Meuninxhove, in which Charles is seen hanging the 'Bird of Honour'
round his brother's neck.

In April, 1657, the English Government was informed that the Court of
Charles was preparing to leave Bruges. 'Yesterday' (April 7) 'some of
his servants went before to Brussels to make ready lodgings for Charles
Stewart, the Duke of York, and the Duke of Gloucester. All that have
or can compass so much money go along with Charles Stewart on Monday
morning. I do admire how people live here for want of money. Our number
is not increased since my last. The most of them are begging again for
want of money; and when any straggling persons come, we have not so
much money as will take a single man to the quarters; yet we promise
ourselves great matters.' They were hampered in all their movements
by this want of hard cash, for Charles was in debt at Bruges, and
could not remove his goods until he paid his creditors. It was sadly
humiliating. 'The King,' we read, 'will hardly live at Bruges any
more, but he cannot remove his family and goods till we get money.'
The dilemma seems to have been settled by Charles, his brothers, and
most of the Court going off to Brussels, leaving their possessions
behind them. The final move did not take place till February, 1658,
and Clarendon says that Charles never lived at Bruges after that date.
He may, however, have returned on a short visit, for Jesse, in his
_Memoirs of the Court of England under the Stuarts_, states that the
King was playing tennis at Bruges when Sir Stephen Fox came to him with
the great news, 'The devil is dead!' This would be in September, 1658,
Cromwell having died on the third of that month. After the Restoration
Charles sent to the citizens of Bruges a letter of thanks for the way
in which they had received him. Nor did he forget, amidst the pleasures
of the Court at Whitehall, the simple pastimes of the honest burghers,
but presented to the archers of the Society of St. Sebastian the sum of
3,600 florins, which were expended on their hall of meeting.

More than a hundred years later, when the Stuart dynasty was a thing
of the past and George III. was seated on the throne of England, the
Rue Haute saw the arrival of some travellers who were very different
from the roystering Cavaliers and frail beauties who had made it gay
in the days of the Merry Monarch. The English Jesuits of St. Omer,
when expelled from their college, came to Bruges in August, 1762, and
took up their abode in the House of the Seven Towers, where they found
'nothing but naked walls and empty chambers.' A miserable place it must
have been. 'In one room a rough table of planks had been set up, and
the famished travellers were rejoiced at the sight of three roast legs
of mutton set on the primitive table. Knives, forks, and plates there
were none. A Flemish servant divided the food with his pocket-knife.
A farthing candle gave a Rembrandt-like effect to the scene. The boys
slept that night on mattresses laid on the floor of one of the big
empty rooms of the house. The first days at Bruges were cheerless
enough.'[11] The religious houses, however, came to the rescue. Flemish
monks and the nuns of the English convent helped the pilgrims, and the
Jesuits soon established themselves at Bruges, where they remained in
peace for a few years, till the Austrian Government drove them out.
The same fate overtook the inmates of many monasteries and convents
at Bruges in the reign of Joseph II., whose reforming zeal led to
that revolt of the Austrian Netherlands which was the prelude to the
invasion of Flanders by the army of the French Revolution.

After the conquest of Belgium by the French it looked as if all the
churches in Bruges were doomed. The Chapel of St. Basil was laid in
ruins. The Church of St. Donatian, which had stood since the days of
Baldwin Bras-de-Fer, was pulled down and disappeared entirely. Notre
Dame, St. Sauveur, and other places of worship, narrowly escaped
destruction; and it was not till the middle of the nineteenth century
that the town recovered, in some measure, from these disasters.

Bruges has doubtless shared in the general prosperity which has spread
over the country since Belgium became an independent kingdom after the
revolution of 1830, but its progress has been slow. It has never lost
its old-world associations; and the names of the streets and squares,
and the traditions connected with numberless houses which a stranger
might pass without notice, are all so many links with the past. There
is the Rue Espagnole, for example, where a vegetable market is held
every Wednesday. This was the quarter where the Spanish merchants
lived and did their business. There used to be a tall, dark, and, in
fact, very dirty-looking old house in this street known by the Spanish
name of the 'Casa Negra.' It was pulled down a few years ago; but
lower down, at the foot of the street, the great cellars in which the
Spaniards stored their goods remain; and on the Quai Espagnol was the
Spanish Consulate, now a large dwelling-house. A few steps from the
Quai Espagnol is the Place des Orientaux (Oosterlingen Plaats), where
a minaret of tawny brick rises above the gables of what was once the
Consulate of Smyrna, and on the north side of which, in the brave days
of old, stood the splendid Maison des Orientaux, the headquarters of
the Hanseatic League in Bruges, the finest house in Flanders, with
turrets and soaring spire, and marvellous façade, and rooms inside all
ablaze with gilding. The glory has departed; two modern dwelling-houses
have taken the place of this commercial palace; but it must surely be a
very dull imagination on which the sight of this spot, now so tranquil
and commonplace, but once the centre of such important transactions,
makes no impression. From the Place des Orientaux it is only a few
minutes stroll to the Rue Cour de Gand and the dark brown wooden front
of the small house, now a lace shop, which tradition says was one of
Memlinc's homes in Bruges, where we can fancy him, laboriously and with
loving care, putting the last minute touches to some immortal painting.

Then there is the Rue Anglaise, off the Quai Spinola, where the English
Merchant Adventurers met to discuss their affairs in houses with such
names as 'Old England' or 'The Tower of London.' The head of the
colony, 'Governor of the English Nation beyond the Seas' they called
him, was a very busy man 400 years ago.[12] The Scottish merchants were
settled in the same district, close to the Church of Ste. Walburge.
They called their house 'Scotland,' and doubtless made as good bargains
as the 'auld enemy' in the next street. There is a building called the
Parijssche Halle, or Halle de Paris, hidden away among the houses to
the west of the Market-Place, with a cafe and a theatre where Flemish
plays are acted now, which was formerly the Consulate of France; and
subscription balls and amateur theatricals are given by the English
residents of to-day in the fourteenth-century house of the Genoese
merchants in the Rue Flamande. The list of streets and houses with
old-time associations like these might be extended indefinitely, for in
Bruges the past is ever present.

[Illustration: BRUGES

Vegetable Market.]

Even the flat-fronted, plain houses with which poverty or the bad taste
of the last century replaced many of the older buildings do not spoil
the picturesque appearance of the town as a whole, because it is no
larger now than it was 600 years ago, and these modern structures are
quite lost amongst their venerable neighbours. Thus Bruges retains
its mediæval character. In the midst, however, of all this wealth of
architectural beauty and historical interest, the atmosphere of common
everyday life seems to be so very dull and depressing that people
living there are apt to be driven, by sheer boredom, into spending
their lives in a round of small excitements and incessant, wearisome
gossip, and into taking far more interest in the paltry squabbles of
their neighbours over some storm in a teacup than in the more important
topics which invigorate the minds of men and women in healthier and
broader societies. Long before Rodenbach's romance was written this
peculiarity of Bruges was proverbial throughout Belgium.

But it is possible that a change is at hand, and that Bruges may once
again become, not the Venice of the North--the time for that is
past--but an important town, for the spirit of commercial enterprise
which has done so much for other parts of Belgium during the last
seventy-five years is now invading even this quiet place, whose
citizens have begun to dream of recovering some portion of their former
prosperity. In 1895 the Belgian Parliament passed a law providing
for the construction, between Blankenberghe and Heyst, of a harbour
connected with Bruges by a canal of large dimensions, and of an inner
port at the town. The works at See-Brugge, as the outer port is called,
are nearly completed, and will allow vessels drawing 26-1/2 feet of
water to float at any state of the tide. The jetty describes a large
curve, and the bend is such that its extremity is parallel to the
coast, and 930 yards distant from the low-water mark. The sheltered
roadstead is about 272 acres in extent, and communication is made
with the canal by a lock 66 feet wide and 282 yards in length. From
this point the canal, which has a depth of 26-1/2 feet and is fed by
seawater, runs in a straight line to Bruges, and ends at the inner
port, which is within a few hundred yards of where the Roya used to
meet the Zwijn. It is capable of affording a minimum capacity of
1,000,000 tons per annum, and the whole equipment has been fitted up
necessary for dealing with this amount of traffic.

The first ship, an English steamer, entered the new port at Bruges on
the morning of May 29 in the present year (1905). The carillon rung
from the Belfry, guns were fired, and a ceremony in honour of the event
took place in the Hôtel de Ville. It now remains to be seen whether any
part of the trade which was lost 400 years ago can be recovered by the
skill of modern engineers and the resources of modern capital.

FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 10: Letter from Mr. J. Butler, Flushing, December 2, 1656,
Thurloe State Papers, V., 645.]

[Footnote 11: Robinson, _Bruges, an Historical Sketch_, p. 291.]

[Footnote 12: In the _Flandria Illustrata_ of Sanderus, vol. i., p.
275, there is a picture of the 'Domus Anglorum.']



CHAPTER VII

THE PLAIN OF WEST FLANDERS--YPRES


To the west of Bruges the wide plain of Flanders extends to the French
frontier. Church spires and windmills are the most prominent objects in
the landscape; but though the flatness of the scenery is monotonous,
there is something pleasing to the eye in the endless succession of
well-cultivated fields, interrupted at intervals by patches of rough
bushland, canals, or slow-moving streams winding between rows of
pollards, country houses embowered in woods and pleasure-grounds,
cottages with fruitful gardens, orchards, small villages, and compact
little towns, in most of which the diligent antiquary will find
something of interest--a modest belfry, perhaps, with a romance of its
own; a parish church, whose foundations were laid long ago in ground
dedicated, in the distant past, to the worship of Thor or Woden; or
the remains, it may be, of a medieval castle, from which some worthy
knight, whose name is forgotten except in local traditions, rode away
to the Crusades.

This part of West Flanders, which lies wedged in between the coast,
with its populous bathing stations, and the better-known district
immediately to the south of it, where Ghent, Tournai, Courtrai, and
other important centres draw many travellers every year, is seldom
visited by strangers, who are almost as much stared at in some of the
villages as they would be in the streets of Pekin. It is, however, very
accessible. The roads are certainly far from good, and anything in
the shape of a walking tour is out of the question, for the strongest
pedestrian would have all his pleasure spoilt by the hard-going of the
long, straight causeway. The ideal way to see the Netherlands and study
the life of the people is to travel on the canals; but these are not
so numerous here as in other parts of the country, and, besides, it is
not very easy to arrange for a passage on the barges. But, in addition
to the main lines of the State Railway, there are the 'Chemins-de-fer
Vicinaux,' or light district railways, which run through all parts
of Belgium. The fares on these are very low, and there are so many
stoppages that the traveller can see a great many places in the course
of a single day. There are cycle tracks, too, alongside most of
the roads, the cost of keeping them in order being paid out of the
yearly tax paid by the owners of bicycles.[13]

[Illustration: THE FLEMISH PLAIN]

This is the most purely Flemish part of Flanders. One very seldom
notices that Spanish type of face which is so common elsewhere--at
Antwerp, for instance. Here the race is almost unmixed, and the
peasants speak nothing but Flemish to each other. Many of them do not
understand a word of French, though in Belgium French is, as everyone
knows, the language of public life and of literature. The newspapers
published in Flemish are small, and do not contain much beyond local
news. The result is that the country people in West Flanders know very
little of what is going on in the world beyond their own parishes. The
standard of education is low, being to a great extent in the hands of
the clergy, who have hitherto succeeded in defeating all proposals for
making it universal and compulsory.

But, steeped as most of them are in ignorance and superstition, the
agricultural labourers of West Flanders are, to all appearance, quite
contented with their lot. Living is cheap, and their wants are few.
Coffee, black bread, potatoes, and salted pork, are the chief articles
of diet, and in some households even the pork is a treat for special
occasions. They seldom taste butter, using lard instead; and the
'margarine' which is sold in the towns does not find its way into the
cottages of the outlying country districts. Sugar has for many years
been much dearer than in England, and the price is steadily rising, but
with this exception the food of the people is cheap. Tea enters Belgium
duty free, but the peasants never use it. Many villagers smoke coarse
tobacco grown in their own gardens, and a 10-centimes cigar is the
height of luxury. Tobacco being a State monopoly in France, the high
price in that country makes smuggling common, and there is a good deal
of contraband trading carried on in a quiet way on the frontiers of
West Flanders. The average wage paid for field labour is from 1 franc
50 centimes to 2 francs a day for married men--that is to say, from
about 1s. 3d. to 1s. 8d. of English money. Bachelors generally receive
1 franc (10d.) a day and their food. The working hours are long, often
from five in the morning till eight in the evening in summer, and in
winter from sunrise till sunset, with one break at twelve o'clock
for dinner, consisting of bread with pork and black coffee, and another
about four in the afternoon, when what remains of the mid-day meal is
consumed.

[Illustration: A FLEMISH COUNTRY GIRL]

The Flemish farmhouse is generally a substantial building, with two
large living-rooms, in which valuable old pieces of furniture are still
occasionally to be found, though the curiosity dealers have, during the
last quarter of a century, carried most of them away, polished them
up, and sold them at a high profit. Carved chests, bearing the arms
of ancient families, have been discovered lying full of rubbish in
barns or stables, and handsome cabinets, with fine mouldings and brass
fittings, have frequently been picked up for a few francs. The heavy
beams of the ceilings, black with age, the long Flemish stoves, and
the quaint window-seats deeply sunk in the thick walls, still remain,
and make the interiors of many of these houses very picturesque; but
the 'finds' of old furniture, curious brass or pewter dishes, and even
stray bits of valuable tapestry, which used to rouse the cupidity of
strangers, are now very rare. Almost all the brass work which is so
eagerly bought by credulous tourists at Bruges in summer is bran-new
stuff cleverly manufactured for sale--and sold it is at five or six
times its real market value! There are no bargains to be picked up on
the Dyver or in the shops of Bruges.

[Illustration: DUINHOEK

Interior of a Farmhouse.]

The country life is simple. A good deal of hard drinking goes on in
most villages. More beer, probably, is consumed in Belgium per head
of the population than in any other European country, Germany not
excepted, and the system of swallowing 'little glasses' of fiery spirit
on the top of beer brings forth its natural fruits. The drunken ways
of the people are encouraged by the excessive number of public-houses.
Practically anyone who can pay the Government fee and obtain a barrel
of beer and a few tumblers may open a drinking-shop. It is not uncommon
in a small country village with about 200 inhabitants to see the words
'Herberg' or 'Estaminet' over the doors of a dozen houses, in which
beer is sold at a penny (or less) for a large glass, and where various
throat-burning liquors of the _petit verre_ species can be had at the
same price; and the result is that very often a great portion of the
scanty wage paid on Saturday evening is melted into beer or gin on
Sunday and Monday. As a rule, the Flemish labourer, being a merry,
light-hearted soul, is merely noisy and jovial in a brutal sort of way
in his cups; but let a quarrel arise, out come the knives, and
before the rural policeman saunters along there are nasty rows, ending
in wounds and sometimes in murder. When the lots are drawn for military
service, and crowds of country lads with their friends flock into the
towns, the public-houses do good business. Those who have drawn lucky
numbers, and so escaped the conscription, get drunk out of joy; while
those who find they must serve in the army drown their sorrow, or
celebrate the occasion if they are of a martial turn, by reeling about
the streets arm in arm with their companions, shouting and singing.
Whole families, old and young alike, often join in these performances,
and they must be very drunk and very disorderly before the police think
of making even the mildest remonstrance.

The gay character of the Flemings is best seen at the 'kermesse,' or
fair, which is held in almost every village during summer. At Bruges,
Ypres, and Furnes, and still more in such large cities as Brussels or
Antwerp, the kermesse has ceased to be typical of the country, and is
supplanted by fairs such as may be seen in England or in almost any
other country. 'Merry-go-rounds' driven by steam, elaborate circuses,
menageries, waxwork exhibitions, movable theatres, and modern 'shows'
of every kind travel about, and settle for a few days, perhaps even
for a few weeks, in various towns. The countryfolk of the surrounding
district are delighted, and the showmen reap a goodly harvest of
francs and centimes; but these fairs are tiresome and commonplace,
much less amusing and lively than, for example, St. Giles's Fair at
Oxford, though very nearly as noisy. But the kermesse proper, which
still survives in some places, shows the Flemings amusing themselves in
something more like the old fashion than anything which can be seen in
the Market-Place of Bruges or on the boulevards of Brussels or Antwerp.
Indeed, some of the village scenes, when the young people are dancing
or shooting with bows and arrows at the mark, while the elders sit,
with their mugs of beer and long pipes, watching and gossiping, are
very like what took place in the times of the old painters who were so
fond of producing pictures of the kermesses. The dress of the people,
of course, is different, but the spirit of the scene, with its homely
festivities, is wonderfully little changed.

About twenty miles from the French frontier is the town of Ypres, once
the capital of Flanders, and which in the time of Louis of Nevers was
one of the three 'bonnes villes,' Bruges and Ghent being the others,
which appointed deputies to defend the rights and privileges of the
whole Flemish people.

As Bruges grew out of the rude fortress on the banks of the Roya, so
Ypres developed from a stronghold built, probably about the year 900,
on a small island in the river Yperlee. It was triangular in shape,
with a tower at each corner, and was at first known by the inhabitants
of the surrounding plain as the 'Castle of the Three Towers.' In
course of time houses began to appear on the banks of the river near
the island. A rampart of earth with a ditch defended these, and as
the place grew, the outworks became more extensive. Owing to its
strategic position, near France and in a part of Flanders which was
constantly the scene of war, it was of great importance; and probably
no other Flemish town has seen its defences so frequently 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 reign of Louis XIV., when a vast and elaborate system
of fortifications was constructed on scientific principles, under the
direction of Vauban.

The citizens of Ypres took a prominent part in most of the great
events which distinguished the heroic period of Flemish history. In
July, 1302, a contingent of 1,200 chosen men, '500 of them clothed in
scarlet and the rest in black,' were set to watch the town and castle
of Courtrai during the Battle of the Golden Spurs, and in the following
year the victory was celebrated by the institution of the Confraternity
of the Archers of St. Sebastian, which still exists at Ypres, the last
survivor of the armed societies which flourished there during the
Middle Ages. Seven hundred burghers of Ypres marched to Sluis, embarked
in the Flemish boats which harassed the French fleet during the naval
fight of June, 1340, and at the close of the campaign formed themselves
into the Confraternity of St. Michael, which lasted till the French
invasion of 1794. Forty years later we find no fewer than 5,000 of the
men of Ypres, who had now changed their politics, on the French side
at the Battle of Roosebeke, fighting in the thick mist upon the plain
between Ypres and Roulers on that fatal day which saw the death of
Philip van Artevelde and the triumph of the Leliarts.

[Illustration: ADINKERQUE

At the Kermesse.]

Next year, so unceasingly did the tide of war flow over the plain
of Flanders, an English army, commanded by Henry Spencer, Bishop of
Norwich, landed at Calais under the pretext of supporting the
partisans of Pope Urban VI., who then occupied the Holy See, against
the adherents of Pope Clement VII., who had established himself at
Avignon. The burghers of Ghent flocked to the English standard, and
the allies laid siege to Ypres, which was defended by the French and
the Leliarts, who followed Louis of Maele, Count of Flanders, and
maintained the cause of Clement.

At that time the gateways were the only part of the fortifications
made of stone. The ramparts were of earth, planted on the exterior
slope with a thick mass of thorn-bushes, interlaced and strengthened by
posts. Outside there were more defences of wooden stockades, and beyond
them two ditches, divided by a dyke, on which was a palisade of pointed
stakes. The town, thus fortified, was defended by about 10,000 men, and
on June 8, 1383, the siege was begun by a force consisting of 17,000
English and 20,000 Flemings of the national party, most of whom came
from Bruges and Ghent.

The English had been told that the town would not offer a strong
resistance, and on the first day of the siege 1,000 of them tried
to carry it at once by assault. They were repulsed; and after that
assaults by the besiegers and sorties by the garrison continued
day after day, the loss of life on both sides being very great. At
last the besiegers, finding that they could not, in the face of the
shower of arrows, javelins, and stones which met them, break through
the palisades and the sharp thorn fences (those predecessors of the
barbed-wire entanglements of to-day), force the gates, or carry the
ramparts, built three wooden towers mounted on wheels, and pushed them
full of soldiers up to the gates. But the garrison made a sortie,
seized the towers, destroyed them, and killed or captured the soldiers
who manned them.

Spencer on several occasions demanded the surrender of the town, but
all his proposals were rejected. The English pressed closer and closer,
but were repulsed with heavy losses whenever they delivered an assault.
The hopes of the garrison rose high on August 7, the sixty-first day
of the siege, when news arrived that a French army, 100,000 strong,
accompanied by the forces of the Count of Flanders, was marching to the
relief of Ypres. Early next morning the English made a fresh attempt
to force their way into the town, but they were once more driven
back. A little later in the day they twice advanced with the utmost
bravery. Again they were beaten back. So were the burghers of Ghent,
whom the English reproached for having deceived them by saying that
Ypres would fall in three days, and whose answer to this accusation
was a furious attack on one of the gates, in which many of them fell.
In the afternoon the English again advanced, and succeeded in forcing
their way through part of the formidable thorn hedge; but it was of no
avail, and once more they had to retire, leaving heaps of dead behind
them. After a rest of some hours, another attack was made on seven
different parts of the town at the same time. This assault was the most
furious and bloody of the siege, but it was the last. Spencer saw that,
in spite of the splendid courage of his soldiers and of the Flemish
burghers, it would be impossible to take the town before the French
army arrived, and during the night the English, with their allies
from Ghent and Bruges, retired from before Ypres. The failure of this
campaign left Flanders at the mercy of France; but the death of Count
Louis of Maele, which took place in January, 1384, brought in the House
of Burgundy, under whose rule the Flemings enjoyed a long period of
prosperity and almost complete independence.

It was believed in Ypres that the town had been saved by the
intercession of the Virgin Mary, its patron saint. In the Cathedral
Church of St. Martin the citizens set up an image of Notre
Dame-de-Thuine, that is, Our Lady of the Enclosures, an allusion to
the strong barrier of thorns which had kept the enemy at bay; and a
kermesse, appointed to be held on the first Sunday of August every year
in commemoration of the siege, received the name of the 'Thuindag,'
or Day of the Enclosures.[14] The people of Ypres, though they fought
on the French side, had good reason to be proud of the way in which
they defended their homes; but the consequences of the siege were
disastrous, for the commerce of the town never recovered the loss of
the large working-class population which left it at that time.

[Illustration: A FARMSTEADING]

The religious troubles of the sixteenth century left their mark on
Ypres as well as on the rest of Flanders. Everyone has read the glowing
sentences in which the historian of the Dutch Republic describes the
Cathedral of Antwerp, and tells how it was wrecked by the reformers
during the image-breaking in the summer of 1566. What happened on
the banks of the Scheldt appeals most to the imagination; but all over
Flanders the statues and the shrines, the pictures and the stores of
ecclesiastical wealth, with which piety, or superstition, or penitence
had enriched so many churches and religious houses, became the objects
of popular fury. There had been field-preaching near Ypres as early as
1562.[15] Other parts of West Flanders had been visited by the apostles
of the New Learning, and on August 15, 1566, the reformers swept down
upon Ypres and sacked the churches.

In the awful tragedy which soon followed, when Parma came upon the
scene, that 'spectacle of human energy, human suffering, and human
strength to suffer, such as has not often been displayed upon the stage
of the world's events', the town had its share of the persecutions
and exactions which followed the march of the Spanish soldiery; but
for more than ten years a majority of the burghers adhered to the
cause of Philip. In July, 1578, however, Ypres fell into the hands
of the Protestants, and became their headquarters in West Flanders.
Five years later Alexander of Parma besieged it. The siege lasted
until April of the following year, when the Protestants, worn out by
famine, capitulated, and the town was occupied by the Spaniards, who
'resorted to instant measures for cleansing a place which had been so
long in the hands of the infidels, and, as the first step towards this
purification, the bodies of many heretics who had been buried for years
were taken from their graves and publicly hanged in their coffins. All
living adherents to the Reformed religion were instantly expelled from
the place.'[15] By this time the population was reduced to 5,000 souls,
and the fortifications were a heap of ruins.

A grim memorial of those troublous times is still preserved at Ypres.
The Place du Musée is a quiet corner of the town, where a Gothic house
with double gables contains a collection of old paintings, medals,
instruments of torture, and some other curiosities. It was the Bishop
of Ypres who, at midnight on June 4, 1568, announced to Count Egmont,
in his prison at Brussels, that his hour had come; and the cross-hilted
sword, with its long straight blade, which hangs on the wall of the
Museum is the sword with which the executioner 'severed his head from
his shoulders at a single blow' on the following morning. The same
weapon, a few minutes later, was used for the despatch of Egmont's
friend, Count Horn.

[Illustration: YPRES

Place du Musée (showing Top Part of the Belfry).]

Before the end of that dismal sixteenth century Flanders regained
some of the liberties for which so much blood had been shed; but
while the Protestant Dutch Republic rose in the north, the 'Catholic'
or 'Spanish' Netherlands in the south remained in the possession of
Spain until the marriage of Philip's daughter Isabella to the Archduke
Albert, when these provinces were given as a marriage portion to the
bride. This was in 1599. Though happier times followed under the
moderate rule of Albert and Isabella, war continued to be the incessant
scourge of Flanders, and during the marching and countermarching of
armies across this battlefield of Europe, Ypres scarcely ever knew what
peace meant. Four times besieged and four times taken by the French in
the wars of Louis XIV., the town had no rest; and for miles all round
it the fields were scarred by the new system of attacking strong places
which Vauban had introduced into the art of war. Louis, accompanied by
Schomberg and Luxembourg, was himself present at the siege of 1678; and
Ypres, having been ceded to France by the Treaty of Nimeguen in that
year, was afterwards strengthened by fortifications constructed from
plans furnished by the great French engineer.[17]

In the year 1689 Vauban speaks of Ypres as a place 'formerly great,
populous, and busy, but much reduced by the frequent sedition and
revolts of its inhabitants, and by the great wars which it has
endured.' And in this condition it has remained ever since. Though the
period which followed the Treaty of Rastadt in 1714, when Flanders
passed into the possession of the Emperor Charles VI., and became
a part of the 'Austrian Netherlands,' was a period of considerable
improvement, Ypres never recovered its position, not even during the
peaceful reign of the Empress Maria Theresa. The revolution against
Joseph II. disturbed everything, and in June, 1794, the town yielded,
after a short siege, to the army of the French Republic. The name of
Flanders disappeared from the map of Europe. The whole of Belgium
was divided, like France, with which it was now incorporated, into
_départements_, Ypres being in the Department of the Lys. For twenty
years, during the wars of the Republic, the Consulate, and the Empire,
though the conscription was a constant drain upon the youth of
Flanders, who went away to leave their bones on foreign soil, nothing
happened to disturb the quiet of the town, and the fortifications
were falling into decay when the return of Napoleon from Elba set
Europe in a blaze. During the Hundred Days guns and war material were
hurried over from England, the old defences were restored, and new
works constructed by the English engineers; but the Battle of Waterloo
rendered these preparations unnecessary, and the military history of
Ypres came to an end when the short-lived Kingdom of the Netherlands
was established by the Congress of Vienna, though it was nominally
a place of arms till 1852, when the fortifications were destroyed.
Nowadays everything is very quiet and unwarlike. The bastions and
lunettes, the casemates and moats, which spread in every direction
round the town, have almost entirely disappeared, and those parts
of the fortifications which remain have been turned into ornamental
walks.[18]

But while so little remains of the works which were constructed, at
such a cost and with so much labour, for the purposes of war, the arts
of peace, which once flourished at Ypres, have left a more enduring
monument. There is nothing in Bruges or any other Flemish town which
can compare for massive grandeur with the pile of buildings at the west
end of the Grand' Place of Ypres. During two centuries the merchants of
Flanders, whose towns were the chief centres of Western commerce and
civilization, grew to be the richest in Europe, and a great portion of
the wealth which industry and public spirit had accumulated was spent
in erecting those noble civic and commercial buildings which are still
the glory of Flanders. The foundation-stone of the Halle des Drapiers,
or Cloth Hall, of Ypres was laid by Baldwin of Constantinople, then
Count of Flanders, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, but more
than 100 years had passed away before it was completed. Though the name
of the architect who began it is unknown, the unity of design which
characterizes the work makes it probable that the original plans were
adhered to till the whole was finished. Nothing could be simpler than
the general idea; but the effect is very fine. The ground-floor of the
façade, about 150 yards long, is pierced by a number of rectangular
doors, over which are two rows of pointed windows, each exactly above
the other, and all of the same style. In the upper row every second
window is filled up, and contains the statue of some historical
character. At each end there is a turret; and the belfry, a square with
towers at the corners, rises from the centre of the building.

Various additions have been made from time to time to the original
Halle des Drapiers since it was finished in the year 1304, and of these
the 'Nieuwerck' is the most interesting. The east end of the Halle was
for a long time hidden by a number of wooden erections, which, having
been put up for various purposes after the main building was finished,
were known as the 'Nieuwe wercken,' or new works. They were pulled
down in the beginning of the seventeenth century, and replaced by the
stone edifice, in the style of the Spanish Renaissance, which now goes
by the name of the Nieuwerck, with its ten shapely arches supported by
slender pillars, above whose sculptured capitals rise tiers of narrow
windows and the steeply-pitched roof with gables of curiously carved
stone. Ypres had ceased to be a great commercial city long before the
Nieuwerck was built; but the Cloth Hall was a busy place during the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when Ypres shared with Bruges the
responsibility of managing the Flemish branch of the Hanseatic League.

The extensive system of monopolies which the League maintained was,
as a matter of course, the cause of much jealousy and bad feeling.
In Flanders, Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres defended their own privileges
against other towns, and quarrelled amongst themselves. The merchants
of Ypres had a monopoly which forbade all weaving for three leagues
round the town, under a penalty of fifty livres and confiscation of the
looms and linen woven; but the weavers in the neighbouring communes
infringed this monopoly, and sold imitations of Ypres linen cloth on
all hands. There was constant trouble between the people of Ypres and
their neighbours at Poperinghe. Sometimes the weavers of Ypres, to
enforce their exclusive privileges, marched in arms against Poperinghe,
and sometimes the men of Poperinghe retaliated by attacking their
powerful rivals. Houses were burnt, looms were broken up, and lives
were lost in these struggles, which were so frequent that for a long
time something like a chronic state of war existed between the two
places.

[Illustration: YPRES

Arcade under the Nieuwerck.]

Besides the troubles caused by the jealousy of other towns, intestine
disputes arising out of the perpetual contest between labour and
capital went on from year to year within the walls of Ypres. There, as
in the other Flemish towns, a sharp line was drawn between the working
man, by whose hands the linen was actually woven, and the merchants,
members of the Guilds, by whom it was sold. In these towns, which
maintained armies and made treaties of peace, and whose friendship
was sought by princes and statesmen, the artisans, whose industry
contributed so much to the importance of the community, resented any
infringement of their legal rights. By law the magistrates of Ypres
were elected annually, and because this had not been done in 1361 the
people rose in revolt against the authorities. The mob invaded the
Hôtel de Ville, where the magistrates were assembled. The Baillie, Jean
Deprysenaere, trusting to his influence as the local representative of
the Count of Flanders, left the council chamber, and tried to appease
the rioters. He was set upon and killed. Then the crowd rushed into
the council chamber, seized the other magistrates, and locked them
up in the belfry, where they remained prisoners for some days. The
leaders of the revolt met, and resolved to kill their prisoners, and
this sentence was executed on the Burgomaster and two of the Sheriffs,
who were beheaded in front of the Halle in the presence of their
colleagues.[19] It was by such stern deeds that the fierce democracy of
the Flemish communes preserved their rights.

Each town, however, stood for itself alone. The idea of government by
the populace on the market-place was common to them all, but they were
kept apart by the exclusive spirit of commercial jealousy. The thirst
for material prosperity consumed them; but they had no bond of union,
and each was ready to advance its own interests at the expense of its
rivals. Therefore, either in the face of foreign invasion, or when the
policy of some Count led to revolt and civil war, it was seldom that
the people of Flanders were united. 'L'Union fait la Force' is the
motto of modern Belgium, but in the Middle Ages there was no powerful
central authority round which the communes rallied. Hence the spectacle
of Ghent helping an English army to storm the ramparts of Ypres, or of
the Guildsmen of Bruges girding on their swords to strike a blow for
Count Louis of Maele against the White Hoods who marched from Ghent.

Hence the permanent unrest of these Flemish towns, the bickerings and
the sheddings of blood, the jealousy of trade pitted against trade or
of harbour against harbour, the insolence in the hour of triumph and
the abject submission in the hour of defeat, and all the evils which
discord brought upon the country. No town suffered more than Ypres from
the distracted state of Flanders, which, combined with the ravages of
war and the religious dissensions of the sixteenth century, reduced it
from the first rank amongst the cities of the Netherlands to something
very like the condition of a quiet country town in an out-of-the-way
corner of England. That is what the Ypres of to-day is like--a sleepy
country town, with clean, well-kept streets, dull and uninteresting
save for the stately Cloth Hall, which stands there a silent memorial
of the past.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 13: Bicycles entering Belgium pay an _ad valorem_ duty of 12
per cent.]

[Footnote 14: Thuin,' or 'tuin,' in Flemish means an enclosed space,
such as a garden plot.]

[Footnote 15: Motley, _Rise of the Dutch Republic_, part ii., chapter
vi.]

[Footnote 16: Motley, _Rise of the Dutch Republic_, part ii., chapter
vi.]

[Footnote 17: Letter from Vauban to Louvois on the fortifications of
Ypres, 1689; Vereecke, pp. 325-357.]

[Footnote 18: The evolution of Ypres from a feudal tower on an
island until it became a great fortress can be traced in a very
interesting volume of maps and plans published by M. Vereecke in
1858, as a supplement to his _Histoire Militaire d'Ypres_. It shows
the first defensive works, those erected by Vauban, the state of the
fortifications between 1794 and 1814, and what the English engineers
did in 1815.]

[Footnote 19: Vereecke, p. 41.]



CHAPTER VIII

FURNES--THE PROCESSION OF PENITENTS


The traveller wandering amongst the towns and villages in this corner
of West Flanders is apt to feel that he is on a kind of sentimental
journey as he moves from place to place, and finds himself everywhere
surrounded by things which belong to the past rather than to the
present. The very guidebooks are eloquent if we read between the
lines. This place 'was formerly of much greater importance.' That 'was
formerly celebrated for its tapestries.' From this Hôtel de Ville 'the
numerous statuettes with which the building was once embellished have
all disappeared.' The tower of that church has been left unfinished
for the last 500 years. 'Fuimus' might be written on them all. And so,
some twenty miles north of Ypres, on a plain which in the seventeenth
century was so studded with earthen redoubts and serrated by long lines
of field-works and ditches that the whole countryside between Ypres and
Dunkirk was virtually one vast entrenched camp, we come to the town of
Furnes, another of the places on which time has laid its heavy hand.

The early history of Furnes is obscure, though it is generally supposed
to have grown up round a fortress erected by Baldwin Bras-de-Fer
to check the inroads of the Normans. It suffered much, like its
neighbours, from wars and revolutions,[20] and is now one of the
quietest of the Flemish towns. The market-place is a small square,
quaintly picturesque, surrounded by clusters of little brick houses
with red and blue tiled roofs, low-stepped gables, and deep mouldings
round the windows. Behind these dwelling-places the bold flying
buttresses of the Church of Ste. Walburge, whose relics were brought
to Furnes by Judith, wife of Baldwin Bras-de-Fer, and the tower of St.
Nicholas, lift themselves on the north and east; and close together in
a corner to the west are the dark gray Hôtel de Ville and Palais de
Justice, in a room of which the judges of the Inquisition used to
sit.

[Illustration: FURNES

Grande Place and Belfry.]

Though some features are common to nearly all the Flemish towns--the
market-place, the belfry, the Hôtel de Ville, the old gateways, and
the churches, with their cherished paintings--yet each of them has
generally some association of its own. In Bruges we think of how the
merchants bought and sold, how the gorgeous city rose, clothed itself
in all the colours of the rainbow, glittered for a time, and sank in
darkness. In the crowded streets of modern Ghent, the busy capital of
East Flanders, we seem to catch a glimpse of bold Jacques van Artevelde
shouldering his way up to the Friday Market, or of turbulent burghers
gathering there to set Pope, or Count of Flanders, or King of Spain at
defiance. Ypres and its flat meadows suggest one of the innumerable
paintings of the Flemish wars, the 'battle-pieces' in which the Court
artists took such pride: the town walls with ditch and glacis before
them, and within them the narrow-fronted houses, and the flag flying
from steeple or belfry; the clumsy cannon puffing out clouds of smoke;
the King of France capering on a fat horse and holding up his baton
in an attitude of command in the foreground; and in the distance the
tents of the camp, where the travelling theatre was set up, and the
musicians fiddled, and an army of servingmen waited on the rouged and
powdered ladies who had followed the army into Flanders.

Furnes, somehow, always recalls the Spanish period. The Hôtel de
Ville, a very beautiful example of the Renaissance style, with its
rare hangings of Cordovan leather and its portraits of the Archduke
Albert and his bride, the Infanta Isabella, is scarcely changed since
it was built soon after the death of Philip II. The Corps de Garde
Espagnol and the Pavilion des Officiers Espagnols in the market-place,
once the headquarters of the whiskered bravos who wrought such ills
to Flanders, are now used by the Municipal Council of the town as a
museum and a public library; but the stones of this little square were
often trodden by the persecutors, with their guards and satellites,
in the years when Peter Titelmann the Inquisitor stalked through the
fields of Flanders, torturing and burning in the name of the Catholic
Church and by authority of the Holy Office. The spacious room in which
the tribunal of the Inquisition sat is nowadays remarkable only for
its fine proportions and venerable appearance; but, though it was not
erected until after the Spanish fury had spent its force, and at a
time when wiser methods of government had been introduced, it reminds
us of the days when the maxims of Torquemada were put in force amongst
the Flemings by priests more wicked and merciless than any who could
be found in Spain. And in the market-place the people must often have
seen the dreadful procession by means of which the Church sought to
strike terror into the souls of men. Those public orgies of clerical
intolerance were the suitable consummation of the crimes which had been
previously committed in the private conclave of the Inquisitors. The
burning or strangling of a heretic was not accompanied by so much pomp
and circumstance in small towns like Furnes as in the great centres,
where multitudes, led by the highest in the land, were present to
enjoy the spectacle; but the Inquisition of the Netherlands, under
which Flanders groaned for so many years, was, as Philip himself once
boasted, 'much more pitiless than that of Spain.'

[Illustration: FURNES

Peristyle of Town Hall and Palais de Justice.]

The groans of the victims will never more be heard in the
torture-chamber, nor will crowds assemble in the market-place to watch
the cortège of the _auto-da-fé_; but every year the famous Procession
of Penitents, which takes place on the last Sunday of July, draws many
strangers to Furnes.

It is said in Bruges that the ghost of a Spanish soldier, condemned
to expiate eternally a foul crime done at the bidding of the Holy
Office, walks at midnight on the Quai Vert, like Hamlet's father on the
terrace at Elsinore; and superstitious people might well fancy that a
spectre appears in the market-place of Furnes on the summer's night
when the town is preparing for the annual ceremony. The origin of the
procession was this: In the year 1650 a soldier named Mannaert, only
twenty-two years old, being in garrison at Furnes, went to Confession
and Communion in the Chapel of the Capucins. After he had received the
consecrated wafer, he was persuaded by one of his comrades, Mathurin
Lejeusne, to take it out of his mouth, wrap it in a cloth, and, on
returning to his lodging, fry it over a fire, under the delusion that
by reducing it to powder he would make himself invulnerable. The
young man was arrested, confessed his guilt, and himself asked for
punishment. Condemned to be strangled, he heard the sentence without
a murmur, and went to his death singing the penitential psalms. Soon
afterwards Mathurin Lejeusne, the instigator of the sacrilege, was
shot for some breach of military duty. This was regarded as a
proof of Divine justice, and the citizens resolved that something must
be done to appease the wrath of God, which they feared would fall upon
their town because of the outrage done, as they believed, to the body
of His Son. A society calling itself the 'Confrèrie de la Sodalité du
Sauveur Crucifié et de la Sainte Mère Marie, se trouvant en douleur
dessous la Croix, sur Mont Calvaire,' had been formed a few years
before at Furnes, and the members now decided that a Procession of
Penitents should walk through the streets every summer and represent to
the people the story of the Passion.

[Illustration: NIEUPORT

Interior of Church.]

Though the procession at Furnes is a thing of yesterday compared to
the Procession of the Holy Blood at Bruges, it is far more suggestive
of mediævalism. The hooded faces of the penitents, the quaint wooden
figures representing Biblical characters, the coarse dresses, the
tawdry colours, the strangely weird arrangement of the whole business,
take us back into the monkish superstitions of the Dark Ages, with
their mystery plays. It is best seen from one of the windows of the
Spanish House, or from the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville, on a sultry
day, when the sky is heavy with black clouds, and thunder growls over
the plain of Flanders, and hot raindrops fall now and then into the
muddy streets. The first figure which appears is a veiled penitent
bearing the standard of the Sodality. Then come, one after another,
groups of persons representing various scenes in the Bible story, each
group preceded by a penitent carrying an inscription to explain what
follows. Abraham with his sword conducts Isaac to the sacrifice on
Mount Moriah. A penitent holding the serpent and the cross walks before
Moses. Two penitents wearily drag a ear on which Joseph and Mary are
seen seated in the stable at Bethlehem. The four shepherds and the
three Magi follow. Then comes the flight into Egypt, with Mary on an
ass led by Joseph, the infant Christ in her arms. Later we see the
doctors of the Temple walking in two rows, disputing with the young
Jesus in their midst. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem is represented
by a crowd of schoolchildren waving palm-branches and singing hosannahs
round Jesus mounted on an ass. The agony in the garden, Peter denying
his Lord and weeping bitterly, Jesus crowned with thorns, Pilate in
his judgment-hall, the Saviour staggering beneath the cross, the
Crucifixion itself, the Resurrection and the Ascension, are all
shown with the crude realism of the Middle Ages. There are penitents
bearing ponderous crosses on their shoulders, or carrying in their
hands the whips, the nails, the thorns, the veil of the Temple rent in
twain, a picture of the darkened sun, and other symbols of the Passion.
At the end, amidst torches and incense and solemn chanting, the Host is
exhibited for the adoration of the crowd.

[Illustration: FURNES

Tower of St. Nicholas.]

Much of this spectacle is grotesque, and even ludicrous; but there is
also a great deal that is terribly real, for the penitents are not
actors playing a part, but are all persons who have come to Furnes for
the purpose of doing penance. They are disguised by the dark brown
robes which cover them from head to foot, so that they can see their
way only through the eyeholes in the hoods which hide their faces;
but as they pass silently along, bending under the heavy crosses, or
holding out before them scrolls bearing such words as, 'All they that
see Me laugh Me to scorn,' 'They pierced My hands and My feet,' or,
'See if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow,' there are glimpses
of delicate white hands grasping the hard wood of the crosses, and of
small, shapely feet bare in the mud. What sighs, what tears and vain
regrets, what secret tragedies of passion, guilt, remorse, may not be
concealed amongst the doleful company who tread their own Via Dolorosa
on that pilgrimage of sorrow through the streets of Furnes!

[Illustration: FURNES

In St. Walburge's Church.]


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 20: 'Furnes était devenue un _oppidium_, aux termes d'une
charte de 1183, qui avait à se défendre à la fois contre les incursions
des étrangers et les attaques d'une population "indocile et cruelle,"
comme l'appelle l'Abbé de Saint Riquier Hariulf, toujours déchirée par
les factions et toujours prête à la révolte.'--GILLIODTS VAN SEVEREN:
_Recueil des Anciennes Coutumes de la Belgique_; _Quartier de Furnes_,
vol. i., p. 28.]



CHAPTER IX

NIEUPORT--THE BATTLE OF THE DUNES


On the morning of July 2, in the year 1600, two armies--Spaniards,
under the Archduke Albert, and Dutchmen, under Prince Maurice of
Nassau--stood face to face amongst the dunes near Nieuport, where the
river Yser falls into the sea about ten miles west from Ostend.

In a field to the east of Nieuport there is a high, square tower, part
of a monastery and church erected by the Templars in the middle of the
twelfth century, which, though it escaped complete destruction, was
set on fire and nearly consumed when the town was attacked and laid in
ruins by the English and the burghers of Ghent in 1383, the year of
their famous siege of Ypres. It is now in a half-ruinous condition, but
in July, 1600, it was an important part of the fortifications, and from
the top the watchmen of the Spanish garrison could see the country all
round to a great distance beyond the broad moat which then surrounded
the strong walls of Nieuport. A few miles inland, to the south-west,
in the middle of the plain of Flanders, were the houses of Furnes,
grouped round the church tower of St. Nicholas. To the north a wide
belt of sandhills (the 'dunes'), with the sea beyond them, extended far
past Ostend on the east, and to the harbour of Dunkirk on the west.
Nearer, on the landward side of the dunes to the east, and within
less than a mile of each other, were the villages of Westende and
Lombaerdzyde. Close at hand, all round Nieuport, there were numerous
small lakes and watercourses connected with the channel of the Yser,
which, flowing past the town, widened out until it joined the sea, and
became a harbour, which on that morning was full of shipping.

A new chapter had just begun in the history of West Flanders when the
Dutchmen and the Spaniards thus met to slaughter each other amongst
the sand and rushes of the dunes. Philip II. had offered to cede the
Spanish Netherlands to his daughter, the Infanta Isabella, on condition
that a marriage was arranged between her and the Archduke Albert of
Austria. After the death of Philip II. this offer was confirmed by his
successor, Philip III., and the wedding took place in April, 1599.

[Illustration: NIEUPORT

A Fair Parishioner.]

Albert and Isabella were both entering on the prime of life, the
Archduke being forty and the Infanta thirty-two at the time of their
marriage, and were both of a character admirably fitted for the lofty
station to which they had been called. In their portraits, which hang,
very often frayed and tarnished, on the walls of the Hôtel de Ville of
many a Flemish town, there is nothing very royal or very attractive;
but, even after making every allowance for the flattery of contemporary
historians, there can be little doubt that their popularity was well
deserved--well deserved if even a part of what has been said about them
is true. The Archduke is always said to have taken Philip II. as a
model of demeanour, but he had none of the worst faults of the sullen,
powerful despot, with that small mind, that 'incredibly small' mind of
his, and cold heart, cold alike to human suffering and human love, who
had held the Flemings, whom he hated, for so many years in the hollow
of his hand. His grave mien and reserved habits, probably acquired
during his sojourn at the Court of Spain, were distasteful to the gay
and pleasure-loving people of Flanders, who would have preferred a
Prince more like Charles V., whose versatility enabled him to adapt
himself to the customs of each amongst the various races over whom he
ruled. Nevertheless, if they did not love him they respected him, and
were grateful for the moderation and good feeling which distinguished
his reign, and gave their distracted country, after thirty years of
civil war, a period of comparative tranquillity.

The Infanta Isabella, _débonnaire_, affable, tolerant, and
noble-hearted, as she is described, gained the hearts of the Flemings
as her husband never did. 'One could not find any Court more truly
royal or more brilliant in its public fêtes, which sometimes recall
the splendid epoch of the House of Burgundy. Isabella loves a country
life. She is often to be seen on horseback, attending the tournaments,
leading the chase, flying the hawk, taking part in the sports of the
bourgeoise, shooting with the crossbow, and carrying off the prize.'
Above all things, her works of charity endeared her to the people. In
time of war she established hospitals for the wounded, for friends and
enemies alike, where she visited them, nursed them, and dressed their
wounds with her own hands, with heroic courage and tenderness.[21]

Even on their first coming into Flanders, before their characters were
known except by hearsay, they were received with extraordinary
enthusiasm. Travelling by way of Luxembourg, they came to Namur, where
their first visit was made the occasion of a military fête, conducted
under the personal supervision of Comte Florent de Berlaimont. At
Nivelles the Duc d'Arschot paid out of his own purse the cost of the
brilliant festivities to which the people of Brabant flocked in order
to bid their new rulers welcome, and himself led the procession,
accompanied by the Archbishop of Malines and the Bishop of Antwerp. So
they journeyed on amidst scenes of public rejoicing until they came to
Brussels, where they established their Court in accordance with the
customs and ceremonies which had been usual under the Dukes of Burgundy
and the Kings of Spain.

[Illustration: NIEUPORT

Hall and Vicarage.]

But when the Archdukes, as they were called, passed from town to town
on this Royal progress, the phantoms of war, pestilence, and famine
hung over the land. The great cities of Flanders had been deserted
by thousands of their inhabitants. The sea trade of the country had
been destroyed by the vigorous blockade which the Dutch ships of war
maintained along the coast. Religious intolerance had driven the most
industrious of the working classes to find a refuge in Holland or
England. Villages lay in ruins, surrounded by untilled fields and
gardens run to seed. Silent looms and empty warehouses were seen on
every side. To such a pass had the disastrous policy of the Escurial
brought this fair province of the Spanish Empire! From all parts of
Flanders the cry for peace went up, but the time for peace was not yet
come.[22]

The new reign had just begun when Maurice of Nassau suddenly invaded
Flanders with a great force, and laid siege to Nieuport, the garrison
of which, reinforced by an army, at the head of which the Archduke
Albert had hurried across Flanders, was under the command of the
Archduke himself, and many Spanish Generals of great experience in the
wars.

Though the Court at Brussels had been taken by surprise, the Dutch army
was in a position of great danger. Part of it lay on the west side of
the Yser, and part to the east, amongst the dunes near Lombaerdzyde
and Westende, with a bridge of boats thrown across the river as their
only connection. Their ships were at anchor close to the shore; but
Prince Maurice frankly told his men that it was useless to think of
embarking in case of defeat, and that, therefore, they must either
win the day or perish there, for the Spaniards were before them
under the protection of Nieuport, the river divided them, the sea was
behind them, and it would be impossible for a beaten army to escape by
retreating through the dunes in the direction of Ostend.

[Illustration: NIEUPORT
The Quay, with Eel-boats and Landing-stages.]

Such was the position of affairs beneath the walls of Nieuport at
sunrise on July 2, 1600. The morning was spent by the Dutch in
preparing for battle. Towards noon the Spanish leaders held a council
of war, at which it was decided to attack the enemy as soon as
possible, and about three o'clock the battle began. A stiff breeze from
the west, blowing up the English Channel, drove clouds of sand into
the eyes of the Spaniards, and the bright rays of the afternoon sun,
shining in their faces as they advanced to the attack, dazzled and
confused them. But, in spite of these disadvantages, it seemed at first
as if the fortunes of the day were to go in their favour.

The bridge of boats across the Yser was broken, and some of the Dutch
regiments, seized by a sudden panic, began to retreat towards the sea;
but, finding it impossible to reach the ships, they rallied, and began
once more to fight with all the dogged courage of their race. For some
hours the battle was continued with equal bravery on both sides, the
Spaniards storming a battery which the Dutch had entrenched amongst
the dunes, and the Dutch defending it so desperately that the dead and
wounded lay piled in heaps around it. But at last the Spanish infantry
were thrown into confusion by a charge of horsemen; the Archduke Albert
was wounded, and had to retire from the front to have his injuries
attended to. Prince Maurice ordered a general advance of all his army,
and in a few minutes the enemy were fleeing from the battlefield,
leaving behind them 3,000 dead, 800 prisoners, and more than 100
standards. The loss on the Dutch side was about 2,000.

The Archduke Albert, who had narrowly escaped being himself taken
prisoner, succeeded in entering Nieuport safely with what remained of
his army. The town remained in the hands of the Spaniards, for Prince
Maurice, after spending some days in vain attempts to capture it,
marched with his whole force to Ostend, where soon afterwards began the
celebrated siege, which was to last for three long years, and about
which all Europe never tired of talking.[23]

[Illustration: NIEUPORT

The Town Hall.]

The history of Nieuport since those days has been the history of a
gradual fall. Its sea trade disappeared slowly but surely; the fishing
industry languished; the population decreased year by year; and it
has not shared to any appreciable extent in the prosperity which has
enriched other parts of Flanders since the Revolution of 1830. It is
now a quiet, sleepy spot, with humble streets, which remind one of some
fishing village on the east coast of Scotland. Men and women sit at the
doors mending nets or preparing bait. The boats, with their black hulls
and dark brown sails, move lazily up to the landing-stages, where a few
small craft, trading along the coast, lie moored. Barges heavily laden
with wood are pulled laboriously through the locks of the canals which
connect the Yser with Ostend and Furnes. The ancient fortifications
have long since disappeared, with the exception of a few grass-grown
mounds; and only the grim tower of the Templars, standing by itself
in a field on the outskirts of the town, remains to show that this
insignificant place was once a mighty stronghold.

In those old Flemish towns, however, it is always possible to find
something picturesque; and here we have the Cloth Hall, with its low
arches opening on the market-place, and the Gothic church, one of the
largest in Flanders, with its porch and tower, where the bell-ringers
play the chimes and the people pass devoutly to the services of the
church. But that is all. Nieuport has few attractions nowadays, and
is chiefly memorable in Flemish history because under its walls they
fought that bloody 'Battle of the Dunes,' in which the stubborn
strength and obstinacy of the Dutch overcame the fiery valour of the
Spaniards.

They are all well-nigh forgotten now, obstinate Dutchman and valiant
Spaniard alike. Amongst the dunes not a vestige remains of the
field-works for which they fought. Bones, broken weapons and shattered
breastplates, and all the débris of the fight, were long ago buried
fathoms deep beneath mounds of drifting sand. Old Nieuport--Nieuport
Ville, as they call it now--for which so much blood was shed, is
desolate and dreary with its small industries and meagre commerce; but
a short walk to the north brings us to Nieuport-Bains, and to the gay
summer life which pulsates all along the Flemish coast, from La Panne
on the west to the frontiers of Holland.

[Illustration: NIEUPORT

Church Porch (Evensong).]


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 21: De Gerlache, i. 260.]

[Footnote 22: _L'Abbé Nameche_, xxi. 6-8.]

[Footnote 23: 'Le siège d'Ostende fut, pendant ces trois ans,
la fable et la nouvelle de l'Europe; on ne se lassait pas d'en
parler. Des princes, des étrangers de toutes les nations venaient y
assister.'--_L'Abbé Nameche_, xxi. 24.]



CHAPTER X

THE COAST OF FLANDERS


To walk from Nieuport Ville to the Digue de Mer at Nieuport-Bains is
to pass in a few minutes from the old Flanders, the home of so much
romance, the scene of so many stirring deeds, from the market-places
with the narrow gables heaped up in piles around them, from the
belfries soaring to the sky, from the winding streets and the
narrow lanes, in which the houses almost touch each other, from the
tumble-down old hostelries, from the solemn aisles where the candles
glimmer and the dim red light glows before the altar, from the land
of Bras-de-Fer, and Thierry d'Alsace, and Memlinc, and Van Eyck, and
Rubens, the land which was at once the Temple and the Golgotha of
Europe, into the clear, broad light of modern days.

The Flemish coast, from the frontiers of France to the frontiers of
Holland, is throughout the same in appearance. The sea rolls in and
breaks upon the yellow beach, which extends from east to west for some
seventy kilometres in an irregular line, unbroken by rocks or cliffs.
Above the beach are the dunes, a long range of sandhills, tossed into
all sorts of queer shapes by the wind, on which nothing grows but
rushes or stunted Lombardy poplars, and which reach their highest
point, the Hoogen-Blekker, about 100 feet above the sea, near Coxyde,
a fishing village four or five miles from Nieuport. Behind the dunes a
strip of undulating ground ('Ter Streep'), seldom more than a bare mile
in width, covered with scanty vegetation, moss, and bushes, connects
the barren sandhills with the cultivated farms, green fields, and
woodlands of the Flemish plain. On the other side of the Channel the
chalk cliffs and rocky coast of England have kept the waves in check;
but the dunes were, for many long years, the only barrier against the
encroachments of the sea on Flanders. They are, however, a very weak
defence against the storms of autumn and winter. The sand drifts like
snow before the wind, and the outlines of these miniature mountain
ranges change often in a single night. At one time, centuries ago,
this part of Flanders, which is now so bare, was, it is pretty clear,
covered by forests, the remains of which are still sometimes found
beneath the subsoil inland and under the sea. When the great change
came is unknown, but the process was probably gradual. At an early
period, here, as in Holland, the fight against the invasions of the
sea began, and the first dykes are said to have been constructed in
the tenth century. The first was known as the Evendyck, and ran from
Heyst to Wenduyne. Others followed, but they were swept away, and now
only a few traces of them are to be found, buried beneath the sand and
moss.[24]

[Illustration: THE DUNES

A Stormy Evening.]

The wild storms of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries changed
the aspect of the coast of Flanders. Nieuport rose in consequence
of one of these convulsions of Nature, when the inhabitants of
Lombaerdzyde, which was then a seaport, were driven by the tempests
to the inland village of Santhoven, the name of which they changed
to 'Neoportus'--the new harbour. This was in the beginning of the
twelfth century, and thenceforth the struggle against the waves went
on incessantly. Lands were granted by Thierry d'Alsace on condition
that the owner should construct dykes, and Baldwin of Constantinople
appointed guardians of the shore, charged with the duty of watching
the sea and constructing defensive works. But the struggle was carried
on under the utmost difficulties. In the twelfth century the sea burst
in with resistless force upon the low-lying ground, washing away the
dunes and swallowing up whole towns. The inroads of the waves, the
heavy rains, and the earthquakes, made life so unendurable that there
were thousands who left their homes and emigrated to Germany.

Later, in the thirteenth century, there was a catastrophe of appalling
dimensions, long known as the 'Great Storm,' when 40,000 Flemish men
and women perished. This was the same tempest which overran the Dutch
coast, and formed the Zuyder Zee, those 1,400 square miles of water
which the Dutch are about to reclaim and form again into dry land. In
the following century the town of Scarphout, in West Flanders, was
overwhelmed, and the inhabitants built a new town for themselves on
higher ground, and called it Blankenberghe, which is now one of the
most important watering-places on the coast.

Ever since those days this constant warfare against the storms has
continued, and the sea appears to be bridled; but anyone who has
watched the North Sea at high tide on a stormy day beating on the
shores of Flanders, and observed how the dunes yield to the pressure
of the wind and waves, and crumble away before his eyes, must come to
the conclusion that the peril of the ocean is not yet averted, and can
understand the meaning of the great modern works, the _digues de mer_,
or sea-fronts, as they would be called in England, which are being
gradually constructed at such immense cost all along the coast.

A most interesting and, indeed, wonderful thing in the recent history
of the Netherlands is the rapid development of the Flemish littoral
from a waste of sand, with here and there a paltry fishing hamlet and
two or three small towns, into a great cosmopolitan pleasure resort.
Seventy-five years ago, when Belgium became an independent country,
and King Leopold I. ascended the throne, Ostend and Nieuport were the
only towns upon the coast which were of any size; but Ostend was then
a small fortified place, with a harbour wholly unsuited for modern
commerce, and Nieuport, in a state of decadence, though it possessed
a harbour, was a place of no importance. To-day the whole coast is
studded with busy watering-places, about twenty of them, most of
which have come into existence within the last fifteen years, with a
resident population of about 60,000, which is raised by visitors in
summer to, it is said, nearly 125,000. The dunes, which the old Counts
of Flanders fought so hard to preserve from the waves, and which were
at the beginning of the present century mere wastes of sand, a sort of
'no man's land', of little or no use except for rabbit-shooting, are
now valuable properties, the price of which is rising every year.

The work of turning the sand into gold, for that is what the
development of the Flemish coast comes to, has been carried out partly
by the State and partly by private persons. In early times this belt
of land upon the margin of the sea was held by the Counts of Flanders,
who treated the ridge of sandhills above high-water mark as a natural
rampart against the waves, and granted large tracts of the flat ground
which lay behind to various religious houses. At the French Revolution
these lands were sold as Church property at a very low figure, and
were afterwards allowed, in many cases, to fall out of cultivation by
the purchasers. So great a portion of the district was sold that at
the present time only a small portion of the dune land is the property
of the State--the narrow strip between Mariakerke and Middelkerke
on the west of Ostend, and that which lies between Ostend and
Blankenberghe on the east. The larger portions, which are possessed by
private owners, are partly the property of the descendants of those
who bought them at the Revolution, and partly of building societies,
incorporated for the purpose of developing what Mr. Hall Caine once
termed the 'Visiting Industry'--that is to say, the trade in tourists
and seaside visitors.[25]

[Illustration: AN OLD FARMER]

Plage de Westende, Le Coq, and Duinbergen--three charming summer
resorts--have been created by building societies. Nieuport-Bains and
La Panne have been developed by the owners of the adjoining lands, the
families of Crombez and Calmeyn. Wenduyne, on the other hand, which
lies between Le Coq and Blankenberghe, has been made by the State,
while the management of Blankenberghe, Heyst, and Middelkerke, as
bathing stations, is in the hands of their communal councils.

On the coast of Flanders, Ostend--'La Reine des Plages'--is, it need
hardly be said, the most important place, and its rise has been very
remarkable. Less than fifty years ago the population was in all about
15,000. During the last fifteen years it has increased by nearly
15,000, and now amounts to about 40,000 in round numbers. The increase
in the number of summer visitors has been equally remarkable. In the
year 1860 the list of strangers contained 9,700 names; three years ago
it contained no less than 42,000. This floating population of foreign
visitors who come to Ostend is cosmopolitan to an extent unknown at any
watering-place in England. In 1902 11,000 English, 8,000 French, 5,000
Germans, and 2,000 Americans helped to swell the crowds who walked on
the sea-front, frequented the luxurious and expensive hotels, or left
their money on the gaming-tables at the Kursaal. On one day--August 15,
1902--7,000 persons bathed.[26]

Blankenberghe, with its 30,000 summer visitors, comes next in
importance to Ostend, while both Heyst and Middelkerke are crowded
during the season. But the life at these towns is not so agreeable as
at the smaller watering-places. The hotels are too full, and have, as
a rule, very little except their cheapness to recommend them. There
is usually a body calling itself the _comité des fêtes_, the members
of which devote themselves for two months every summer to devising
amusements, sports, and competitions of various kinds, instead of
leaving people to amuse themselves in their own way, so that hardly
a day passes on which the strains of a second-rate band are not
heard in the local Kursaal, or a night which is not made hideous by
a barrel-organ, to which the crowd is dancing on the _digue_. At
the smaller places, however, though these also have their _comités
des fêtes_, one escapes to a great extent from these disagreeable
surroundings.

May, June, and September are the pleasantest months upon the coast of
Flanders, for the visitors are not so numerous, and even in mid-winter
the dunes are worth a visit. Then the hotels and villas fronting the
sea are closed, and their windows boarded up. The bathing-machines are
removed from the beach, and stand in rows in some sheltered spot. The
_digue_, a broad extent of level brickwork, is deserted, and the wind
sweeps along it, scattering foam and covering it with sand and sprays
of tangled seaweed. The mossy surface of the dunes is frozen hard
as iron, and often the hailstones rush in furious blasts before the
wind. For league after league there is not a sign of life, except the
seabirds flying low near the shore, or the ships rising and falling in
the waves far out to sea. In the winter months the coast of Flanders is
bleak and stormy, but the air in these solitudes is as health-giving as
in any other part of Europe.

Of late years the Government, represented by Comte de Smet de Naeyer,
has bestowed much attention on the development of the littoral,
and King Leopold II. has applied his great business talents to the
subject. Large sums of money have been voted by the Belgian Parliament
for the construction of public works and the extension of the means
of communication from place to place. There is a light railway, the
'Vicinal,' which runs along the whole coast, at a short distance from
the shore, from Knocke, on the east, to La Panne in the extreme west,
and which is connected with the system of State railways at various
points. From Ostend, through Middelkerke, to Plage de Westende, an
electric railway has been constructed, close to the beach and parallel
to the Vicinal (which is about a mile inland), on which trains run
every ten minutes during the summer season. As an instance of the speed
and energy with which these works for the convenience of the public
are carried out, when once they have been decided upon, it may be
mentioned that the contract for the portion of the electric line
between Middelkerke and Plage de Westende, a distance of about a mile
and a half, was signed on May 9, that five days later 200 workmen began
to cut through the dunes, embank and lay the permanent way, and that on
June 25, in spite of several interruptions owing to drifting sand and
heavy rains, the first train of the regular service arrived at Plage de
Westende.

[Illustration: LA PANNE

Interior of a Flemish Inn.]

A large sum, amounting to several millions of francs, is voted
every year for the protection of the shores of Flanders against
the encroachments of the sea, by the construction of these solid
embankments of brickwork and masonry, which will, in the course of a
few years, extend in an unbroken line along the whole coast from end to
end. The building of these massive sea-walls is a work of great labour
and expense, for what seems to be an impregnable embankment, perhaps 30
feet high and 90 feet broad, solid and strong enough to resist the most
violent breakers, will be undermined and fall to pieces in a few hours,
if not made in the proper way. A _digue_, no matter how thick, which
rests on the sand alone will not last. A thick bed of green branches
bound together must first be laid down as a foundation: this is
strengthened by posts driven through it into the sand. Heavy timbers,
resting on bundles of branches lashed together, are wedged into the
foundations, and slope inwards and upwards to within a few feet of the
height to which it is intended to carry the _digue_. On the top another
solid bed of branches is laid down, and the whole is first covered with
concrete, and then with bricks or tiles, while the edge of the _digue_,
at the top of the seaward slope, is composed of heavy blocks of stone
cemented together and bound by iron rivets.

_Digues_ made in this solid fashion, all of them higher above the
shore than the Thames Embankment is above the river, and some of them
broader than the Embankment, will, before very many years have passed,
stretch along the whole coast of Flanders without a break, and will
form not only a defence against the tides, but a huge level promenade,
with the dunes on one side and the sea on the other. This is a gigantic
undertaking, but it will be completed during the lifetime of the
present generation.

[Illustration: LA PANNE

A Flemish Inn--Playing Skittles.]

Another grandiose idea, which is actually being carried into effect,
is to connect all the seaside resorts on the coast of Flanders by
a great boulevard, 40 yards wide, with a road for carriages and
pedestrians, a track for motor-cars and bicycles, and an electric
railway, all side by side. Large portions of this magnificent roadway,
which is to be known as the 'Route Royale,' have already been completed
between Blankenberghe and Ostend, and from Ostend to Plage de Westende.
From Westende it will be continued to Nieuport-Bains, crossing the Yser
by movable bridges, and thence to La Panne, and so onwards, winding
through the dunes, over the French borders, and perhaps as far as Paris!

A single day's journey through the district which this 'Route Royale'
is to traverse will lead the traveller through the most interesting
part of the dunes, and introduce him to most of the favourite _plages_
on the coast of Flanders, and thus give him an insight into many
characteristic Flemish scenes. La Panne, for instance, and Adinkerque,
in the west and on the confines of France, are villages inhabited by
fishermen who have built their dwellings in sheltered places amongst
the dunes. The low white cottages of La Panne, with the strings of
dried fish hanging on the walls, nestle in the little valley from which
the place takes its name (for _panne_ in Flemish means 'a hollow'),
surrounded by trees and hedges, gay with wild roses in the summer-time.
Each cottage stands in its small plot of garden ground, and most of
the families own fishing-boats of their own, and farm a holding which
supplies them with potatoes and other vegetables.

For a long time these cottages were the only houses at La Panne, which
was seldom visited, except by a few artists; but about fifteen years
ago the surveyors and the architects made their appearance, paths and
roads were laid out, and, as if by magic, cottages and villas and the
inevitable _digue de mer_ have sprung up on the dunes near the sea, and
not very far from the original village. The chief feature of the new
La Panne is that the houses are, except those on the sea-front, built
on the natural levels of the ground, some perched on the tops of the
dunes, and others in the hollows which separate them. The effect is
extremely picturesque, and the example of the builders of La Panne is
being followed at other places, notably at Duinbergen, one of the very
latest bathing stations, which has risen during the last three years
about a mile to the east of Heyst.

Another very interesting place is the Plage de Westende, the present
terminus of the electric railway from Ostend. The old village of
Westende lies a mile inland on the highway between Nieuport and
Ostend, close to the scene of the Battle of the Dunes. This Plage is,
indeed, a model seaside resort, with a _digue_ which looks down upon
a shore of the finest sand, and from which, of an evening, one sees
the lights of Ostend in the east, and the revolving beacon at Dunkirk
shining far away to the west. The houses which front the sea, all
different from each other, are in singularly good taste; and behind
them are a number of detached cottages and villas, large and small, in
every variety of design. Ten years ago the site of this little town was
a rabbit warren; now everything is up to date: electric light in every
house, perfect drainage, a good water-supply, tennis courts, and an
admirable hotel, where even the passing stranger feels at home. Though
only three-quarters of an hour from noisy, crowded, bustling Ostend by
the railway, it is one of the quietest and most comfortable places on
the coast of Flanders, and can be reached by travellers from England in
a few hours.

Some years hence the lovely, peaceful Plage de Westende may have grown
too big, but when the sand has all been turned into gold, and when the
contractors and builders have grown rich, those who have known Westende
in its earlier days will think of it as the quiet spot about which at
one time only a few people used to stroll; where perhaps the poet
Verhaeren found something to inspire him; where many a long summer's
evening was spent in pleasant talk on history, and painting, and music
by a little society of men and women who spoke French, or German, or
English, as the fancy took them, and laughed, and quoted, and exchanged
ideas on every subject under the sun; where the professor of music once
argued, and sprang up to prove his point by playing--but that is an
allusion, or, as Mr. Kipling would say, 'another story.'

The district in which Westende lies, with Lombaerdzyde, Nieuport,
Furnes, and Coxyde close together, is the most interesting on the coast
of Flanders. Le Coq, on the other hand, is in that part of the dune
country which has least historical interest, and is chiefly known as
the place where the Royal Golf Club de Belgique has its course. It is
only twenty minutes from Ostend on the Vicinal railway, which has a
special station for golfers near the Club House. There is no _digue_,
and the houses are dotted about in a valley behind the dunes. This
place has a curious resemblance to a Swiss village.

A few years ago the owners of lands upon the Flemish littoral began to
grasp the fact that there was a sport called golf, on which Englishmen
were in the habit of spending money, and that it would be an addition
to the attractions of Ostend if, beside the racecourse, there was a
golf-course. King Leopold, who is said to contemplate using all the
land between the outskirts of Ostend and Le Coq for sporting purposes,
paid a large sum, very many thousands of francs, out of his own pocket,
and the golf-links at Le Coq were laid out. The Club House is handsome
and commodious, but, unfortunately, the course itself, which is the
main thing, is not very satisfactory, being far too artificial. The
natural 'bunkers' were filled up, and replaced by ramparts and ditches
like those on some inland courses in England. On the putting greens
the natural undulations of the ground have been levelled, and the
greens are all as flat and smooth as billiard-tables. There are clumps
of ornamental wood, flower-beds, and artificial ponds with goldfish
swimming in them. It is all very pretty, but it is hardly golf. What
with the 'Grand Prix d'Ostende,' the 'Prix des Roses,' the 'Prix des
Ombrelles, handicap libre, réservé aux Dames,' the 'Grand Prix des
Dames,' and a number of other _objets d'art_, which are offered for
competition on almost every day from the beginning of June to the
end of September, this is a perfect paradise for the pot-hunter and
his familiar friend Colonel Bogey. Real golf, the strenuous game,
which demands patience and steady nerves, perhaps, more than any other
outdoor game, is not yet quite understood by many Belgians; but the bag
of clubs is every year becoming more common on the Dover mail-boats.

Most of these golf-bags find their way to Knocke, where many of the
English colony at Bruges spend the summer, and which, as the coast of
Flanders becomes better known, is visited every year by increasing
numbers of travellers from the other side of the Channel. Knocke is in
itself one of the least attractive places on the Flemish littoral. The
old village, a nondescript collection of houses, lies on the Vicinal
railway about a mile from the sea, which is reached by a straight
roadway, and where there is a _digue_, numerous hotels, pensions, and
villas, all of which are filled to overflowing in the season. The air,
indeed, is perfect, and there are fine views from the _digue_ and the
dunes of the island of Walcheren, Flushing, and the estuary of the
Scheldt; but the place was evidently begun with no definite plan:
the dunes were ruthlessly levelled, and the result is a few unlovely
streets, and a number of detached houses standing in disorder amidst
surroundings from which everything that was picturesque has long since
departed.

But the dunes to the east are wide, and enclose a large space of
undulating ground; and here the Bruges Golf and Sports Club has its
links, which present a very complete contrast to the Belgian course
at Le Coq. The links at Knocke, if somewhat rough and ready, are
certainly sporting in the highest degree. Some of the holes, those
in what is known as the Green Valley, are rather featureless; but in
the other parts of the course there are numerous natural hazards,
bunkers, and hillocks thick with sand and rushes. It has no pretentions
to be a 'first-class' course (for one thing, it is too short), but
in laying out the eighteen holes the ground has been utilized to the
best advantage, and the Royal and Ancient game flourishes more at
Knocke than at any other place in Belgium. The owners of the soil and
the hotel-keepers, with a keen eye to business, and knowing that the
golfing alone brings the English, from whom they reap a golden harvest,
to Knocke, do all in their power to encourage the game, and it is quite
possible that before long other links may be established along the
coast. The soil of the strip behind the dunes is not so suitable for
golf as the close turf of St. Andrews, North Berwick, or Prestwick, for
in many places it consists of sand with a slight covering of moss; but
with proper treatment it could probably be improved and hardened. It is
merely a question of money, and money will certainly be forthcoming if
the Government, the communes, and the private owners once see that this
form of amusement will add to the popularity of the littoral.

A short mile's walk to the west of Knocke brings us to Duinbergen, one
of the newest of the Flemish _plages_, founded in the year 1901 by the
Société Anonyme de Duinbergen, a company in which some members of the
Royal Family are said to hold shares. At Knocke and others of the older
watering-places everything was sacrificed to the purpose of making
money speedily out of every available square inch of sand, and the
first thing done was to destroy the dunes. But at Duinbergen the good
example set by the founders of La Panne has been followed and improved
upon, and nothing could be more _chic_ than this charming little place,
which was planned by Herr Stübben, of Cologne, an architect often
employed by the King of the Belgians, whose idea was to create a small
garden city among the dunes. The dunes have been carefully preserved;
the roads and pathways wind round them; most of the villas and cottages
have been erected in places from which a view of the sea can be
obtained; and even the _digue_ has been built in a curve in order to
avoid the straight line, which is apt to give an air of monotony to
the rows of villas, however picturesque they may be in themselves,
which face the sea at other places. So artistic is the appearance of
the houses that the term 'Style Duinbergen' is used by architects to
describe it. Electric lighting, a copious supply of water rising by
gravitation to the highest houses, and a complete system of drainage,
add to the luxuries and comforts of this _plage_, which is one of the
best illustrations of the wonders which have been wrought among the
dunes by that spirit of enterprise which has done so much for modern
Flanders during the last few years.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 24: Bortier, _Le Littoral de la Flandre au IX^e et au XIX^e
Siècles_.]

[Footnote 25: Letter to the Manx Reform League, November, 1903.]

[Footnote 26: I give these figures on the authority of M. Paul Otlet,
Advocate, of Brussels, to whom I am indebted for much information
regarding the development of the coast of Flanders. See also an article
by M. Otlet in _Le Cottage_, May 15 to June 15, 1904.]



CHAPTER XI

COXYDE--THE SCENERY OF THE DUNES


The whole of the coast-line is within the province of West Flanders,
and its development in recent years is the most striking fact in the
modern history of the part of Belgium with which this volume deals. The
change which has taken place on the littoral during the last fifteen
or twenty years is extraordinary, and the contrast between the old
Flanders and the new, between the Flanders which lingers in the past
and the Flanders which marches with the times, is brought vividly
before us by the difference between such mediæval towns as Bruges,
Furnes, or Nieuport, and the bright new places which glitter on the
sandy shores of the Flemish coast. But in almost every corner of the
dunes, close to these signs of modern progress, there is something to
remind us of that past history which is, after all, the great charm
of Flanders.

One of the most characteristic spots in the land of the
dunes is the village of Coxyde, which lies low amongst the sandhills,
about five miles west from Nieuport, out of sight of the sea, but
inhabited by a race of fisherfolk who, curiously enough, pursue their
calling on horseback. Mounted on their little horses, and carrying
baskets and nets fastened to long poles, they go into the sea to catch
small fish and shrimps. It is strange to see them riding about in the
water, sometimes in bands, but more frequently alone or in pairs; and
this curious custom, which has been handed down from father to son for
generations, is peculiar to the part of the coast which lies between La
Panne and the borders of France.

Near Coxyde, and at the corner where the road from Furnes turns in the
direction of La Panne, is a piece of waste ground which travellers on
the Vicinal railway pass without notice. But here once stood the famous
Abbey of the Dunes.

[Illustration: COXYDE

A Shrimper on Horseback.]

In the first years of the twelfth century a pious hermit named Lyger
took up his abode in these solitary regions, built a dwelling for
himself, and settled down to spend his life in doing good works and
in the practice of religion. Soon, as others gathered round him,
his dwelling grew into a monastery, and at last, in the year 1122, the
Abbey of the Dunes was founded. It was nearly half a century before
the great building, which is said to have been the first structure of
such a size built of brick in Flanders, was completed; but when at
last the work was done the Abbey was, by all accounts, one of the most
magnificent religious houses in Flanders, consisting of a group of
buildings with no less than 105 windows, a rich and splendid church, so
famous for its ornamental woodwork that the carvings of the stalls were
reproduced in the distant Abbey of Melrose in Scotland, and a library
which, as time went on, became a storehouse of precious manuscripts and
hundreds of those wonderfully illustrated missals on which the monks of
the Middle Ages spent so many laborious hours. We can imagine them in
the cells of Coxyde copying and copying for hours together, or bending
over the exquisitely coloured drawings which are still preserved in the
museums of Flanders.

But their most useful work was done on the lands which lay round the
Abbey. There were at Coxyde in the thirteenth century no fewer than
150 monks and 248 converts engaged at one time in cultivating the
soil.[27] They drained the marshes, and planted seeds where seeds
would grow, until, after years of hard labour on the barren ground,
the Abbey of the Dunes was surrounded by wide fields which had been
reclaimed and turned into a fertile oasis in the midst of that savage
and inhospitable desert.

When St. Bernard was preaching the Crusade in Flanders he came to
Coxyde. On his advice the monks adopted the Order of the Cistercians,
and their first abbot under the new rule afterwards sat in the chair of
St. Bernard himself as Abbot of Clairvaux. Thereafter the Cistercian
Abbey of the Dunes grew in fame, especially under the rule of St.
Idesbaldus, who had come there from Furnes, where he had been a Canon
of the Church of Ste. Walburge. 'It has also a special interest for
English folk. It long held lands in the isle of Sheppey, as well as the
advowson of the church of Eastchurch, in the same island. These were
bestowed on it by Richard the Lion-Hearted. The legend says that these
gifts were made to reward its sixth abbot, Elias, for the help he gave
in releasing Richard from captivity. Anyhow, Royal Charters, and
dues from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a Bull of Pope Celestine
III., confirmed the Abbey in its English possessions and privileges.
The Abbey seems to have derived little benefit from these, and finally,
by decision of a general congregation of the Cistercian Order, handed
them over to the Abbot and Chapter of Bexley, to recoup the latter for
the cost of entertaining monks of the Order going abroad, or returning
from the Continent, on business of the Order.'[28]

[Illustration: COXYDE

A Shrimper.]

The English invasion of the fifteenth century destroyed the work of the
monks in their fields and gardens, but the Abbey itself was spared;
and the great disaster did not come until a century later, when the
image-breakers, who had begun their work amongst the Gothic arches of
Antwerp, spread over West Flanders, and descended upon Coxyde. The
Abbey was attacked, and the monks fled to Bruges, carrying with them
many of their treasures, which are still to be seen in the collection
on the Quai de la Poterie, beyond the bridge which is called the Pont
des Dunes. The noble building, so long the home of so much piety and
learning, and from which so many generations of apostles had gone
forth to toil in the fields and minister to the poor, was abandoned,
and allowed to fall into ruins, until at last it gradually sunk into
complete decay, and was buried beneath the sands. Not a trace of it now
remains. History has few more piteous sermons to preach on the vanity
of all the works of men.

The fishermen on the coast of Flanders have, from remote times, paid
their vows in the hour of danger to Notre Dame de Lombaerdzyde. If they
escape from some wild storm they go on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving.
They walk in perfect silence along the road to the shrine, for not a
word must be spoken till they reach it; and these hardy seafaring men
may be seen kneeling at the altar of the old, weather-beaten church
which stands on the south side of the highway through the village, and
in which are wooden models of ships hung up as votive offerings before
an image of the Virgin, which is the object of peculiar veneration. The
Madonna of Lombaerdzyde did not prevail to keep the sea from invading
the village at the time when the inhabitants were driven to Nieuport,
but the belief in her miraculous power is as strong to-day as it was in
the Dark Ages.

[Illustration: ADINKERQUE

Village and Canal.]

There is a view of Lombaerdzyde which no one strolling on the dunes
near Nieuport should fail to see--a perfect picture, as typical
of the scenery in these parts as any landscape chosen by Hobbema or
Ruysdael. A causeway running straight between two lofty dunes of bare
sand, and bordered by stunted trees, forms a long vista at the end
of which Lombaerdzyde appears--a group of red-roofed houses, with
narrow gables and white walls, and in the middle the pointed spire
of the church, beyond which the level plain of Flanders, dotted with
other villages and churches and trees in formal rows, stretches away
into the distance until it merges in the horizon. Adinkerque, a
picturesque village beyond Furnes, is another place which calls to
mind many a picture of the Flemish artists in the Musée of Antwerp and
the Mauritshuis at The Hague; and the recesses of the dune country
in which these places are hidden has a wonderful fascination about
it--the irregular outlines of the dunes, some high and some low,
sinking here into deep hollows of firm sand, and rising there into
strange fantastic shapes, sometimes with sides like small precipices
on which nothing can grow, and sometimes sloping gently downwards and
covered with trembling poplars, spread in confusion on every side.
Often near the shore the sandy barrier has been broken down by the
wind or by the waves, and a long gulley formed, which cuts deep into
the dunes, and through which the sand drifts inland till it reaches a
steep bank clothed with rushes, against which it heaps itself, and so,
rising higher with the storms of each winter, forms another dune. This
process has been going on for ages. The sands are for ever shifting,
but moss begins to grow in sheltered spots; such wild flowers as can
flourish there bloom and decay; the poplars shed their leaves, and
nourish by imperceptible degrees the fibres of the moss; some hardy
grasses take root; and at length a scanty greensward appears. By such
means slowly, in the microcosm of the dunes, have been evolved out of
the changing sands places fit for men to live in, until now along the
strip which guards the coast of Flanders there are green glades gay
with flowers, and shady dells, and gardens sheltered from the wind,
plots of pasture-land, cottages and churches which seem to grow out of
the landscape, their colouring so harmonizes with the colouring which
surrounds them. And ever, close at hand, the sea is rolling in and
falling on the shore. 'Come unto these yellow sands,' and when the sun
is going down, casting a long bar of burnished gold across the water,
against which, perhaps, the sail of some boat looms dark for a moment
and then passes on, the sky glows in such a lovely, tender light that
those who watch it must needs linger till the twilight is fading away
before they turn their faces inland. There are few evenings for beauty
like a summer evening on the shores of Flanders.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 27: Derode, _Histoire Religieuse de la Flandre Maritime_, p.
86.]

[Footnote 28: Robinson, _Bruges, an Historical Sketch_, p. 176.]



EAST FLANDERS AND BRABANT



EAST FLANDERS AND BRABANT



CHAPTER XII

GHENT


From Bruges, the capital of West Flanders, to Ghent, the capital of
East Flanders, it is only half an hour's journey by rail; but the
contrast between them is remarkable. Bruges is a city of the dead, of
still life, of stagnant waters, of mouldering walls and melancholy
streets, long since fallen from its high estate into utter decay.
Ghent, on the other hand, is active, bustling, prosperous. The narrow
lanes and gloomy courts of mediæval times have, in many parts, been
swept away to make room for broad, well-lighted streets and squares,
through which electric trams, crowded with busy people, run incessantly
all day long. Bruges is known as 'La Morte.' Ghent is often called
'La Ville de Flore,' from the numerous gardens and hot-houses which
supply plants to the markets of France, Germany, America, and other
countries. Other branches of industry thrive. The trade in flax, linen,
leather goods, engines, and lace, is large and flourishing. There are
warehouses packed full of articles of commerce waiting to be sent off
by canal or railway, and yards piled high with wood from North America,
or bags of Portland cement from England.

Two great canals, one connecting the town with the estuary of the
Scheldt near the sea, and the other leading, through Bruges, to Ostend,
admit merchant vessels and huge barges to a commodious harbour, where
steam cranes and all the appliances of a busy seaport are in full
swing. There never is a crowd in Bruges, except during the yearly
Procession of the Holy Blood; but every day in Ghent, if by chance a
drawbridge over one of the canals is raised, a crowd of working people
gathers to wait impatiently while some deeply-laden barge passes slowly
through, and, the moment the passage is free, rushes over in haste.
These are Flemings in a hurry. One never sees them in Bruges. Ghent,
then, is a modern commercial town; but, in spite of all the changes
which time and progress have brought about, it is, like most of the
other Flemish towns, full of sights which carry us back in a moment to the
distant past.

[Illustration: GHENT

AN old lace-maker.]

The Lys and the Scheldt, winding through Belgium from west to east,
meet almost in the centre of the province of East Flanders; and at the
point where they join a number of islands have been formed by numerous
channels, pools, and backwaters which are connected with the two
rivers. In early times, no doubt, the spot was nothing but a morass,
and on one of the pieces of drier ground the first wooden houses of
Ghent were erected. After that, during the course of centuries, the
town spread from island to island, and as each island was occupied a
bridge was built, so that by degrees between twenty and thirty islands,
joined by a number of bridges, were covered with dwelling-houses and
public buildings, and the whole surrounded by a wall and moat.

But long before buildings of brick or stone replaced the dark wooden
houses, of which only one now remains, the people of Ghent had acquired
the character of being the most intractable of all the Flemings; and
when Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, came back from the Holy Land,
towards the end of the twelfth century, he erected, on the site of an
old fortress which Baldwin Bras-de-Fer had built 200 years before, a
strong castle for the purpose of overawing the townsmen.

On the left bank of the Lys, which, passing through the middle of the
town, threads its way close under the basements of the houses, is the
Place Ste. Pharailde, with its picturesque buildings of the Middle
Ages; and on the north side of this Place stand the massive remains of
the old stronghold.

It is a grim, forbidding place, now known as the Château des Comtes. On
three sides high black walls rise straight out of the water, and on the
fourth side a deep archway leads into a large courtyard, in the middle
of which is the donjon, said to date from the ninth century. There is
a vast, dim banquet-hall, with an immense chimney-piece, and small
windows with stone seats sunk deep in the walls, where King Edward
III. of England and Queen Philippa feasted with Jacques van Artevelde
in the year 1339, during the war with France. Dark, narrow staircases
lead from story to story within the thickness of the walls, or wind up
through turrets pierced with small windows a few inches square. Far
down in the foundations are dismal oubliettes and torture-chambers;
and in one corner of what is supposed to have been a prison is an
iron-bound chest full of the skeletons of persons who suffered in the
religious troubles of the sixteenth century. This gloomy place, once
the abode of so much cruelty, is one of the most interesting sights in
Ghent.

[Illustration: GHENT

THE Banquet Hall, Château des Comtes.]

Charles V. was born at Ghent in the Cour des Princes, a magnificent
palace, of which nothing but a single gateway now remains. John of
Gaunt (or Ghent) was born here, too. Here took place the marriage of
the Archduke Maximilian to Mary of Burgundy, which gave the Netherlands
to the House of Austria. And here, in the Carthusian monastery in the
Rue des Chartreux, in a room which is now one of the refectories, Lord
Gambier, as Ambassador for George III., signed, on Christmas Eve, 1814,
the articles of peace which put an end to the war between Great Britain
and the United States of America.

Everywhere, however, in Flanders the chief connecting-link between the
past and the present is to be found at the Hôtel de Ville, the centre
of the civic life; and it would be hard to find in all the Netherlands,
except at Brussels, a more splendid example of Gothic architecture than
the north side of the Hôtel de Ville at Ghent.

Within, on the walls of a great hall, the Salle des États, is a tablet
in memory of the famous 'Pacification of Ghent,' signed there in 1576,
when the leaders of the Dutch and Catholic Netherlands united for
the purpose of securing civil and religious liberty and the downfall
of the Spanish oppression. Opposite this tablet is a window, through
which one steps on to a small balcony where proclamations were made of
war, or peace, or royal marriages, and laws were promulgated, in olden
times. In another part of the building the twelve Catholics, thirteen
Liberals, and fourteen Socialists, who (1907) make up the Council of
to-day, meet and debate, in a Gothic hall of the fifteenth century,
with the Burgomaster in the chair. The civil marriages, which by the
Belgian Constitution of 1831 must always precede the religious ceremony
in church, take place in an old chapel of 1574, where there is a large
picture by Wauters of Mary of Burgundy asking the burghers of Ghent to
pardon one of her Ministers. Just outside the door of this Salle des
Mariages a painting of the last moments of Count Egmont and Count Horn
hangs in a passage, with a roof 500 years old, leading to the offices
of the Tramway Company. Thus the everyday business of the town is
conducted in the midst of the memorials of the past.

[Illustration: GHENT

BÉGUINAGE de Mont St. Amand.]

In front of the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville there used to be a wide,
open space, in which the burghers assembled; but now the ground is
occupied by a row of houses (the Rue Haut-Port), intersected by narrow
streets, one of which leads to the Marché de Vendredi, the scene of
the greatest events in the history of Ghent. This is a large square,
surrounded by a double row of trees, in the middle of which is a statue
of Jacques van Artevelde, the 'Brewer of Ghent,' who stands with arm
up-raised, pointing to the west, as if to show his fellow-citizens that
help was coming from England, or that the enemy was on the march from
France.

Not far from the Hôtel de Ville the compact tower of St. Nicholas rises
above the housetops; and the churches of St. Pierre, St. Michael, and
St. Jacques are worth a visit. There is also the Béguinage de Ste.
Élisabeth, a group of houses of dark red brick with tiled roofs, trim
grass paddocks, and winding streets, clustering round a church--the
quietest spot in Ghent, where five or six hundred Beguines, in their
blue robes and white head-dresses, spend their days in making lace or
attending the services of the Catholic Church. But the antiquary and
student of history will find more to interest him if he makes his way
to the Abbey of St. Bavon (birthplace of John of Gaunt), the ruins of
which lie on the east side of the town, near the Porte d'Anvers.

The tradition is that this abbey was founded, early in the seventh
century, by St. Amandus, the 'Apostle of Flanders,' and enlarged, some
twenty years later, by St. Bavon. In the middle of the ninth century it
was almost entirely destroyed by the Normans, but rose once more at a
later period, only to be demolished by Charles V., who erected a castle
there about the year 1540. A quarter of a century later, on September
23, 1567, Egmont and Horn were brought here by the orders of Alva, and
kept in prison until they were carried, 'guarded by two companies of
infantry and one of cavalry,' to Brussels, where the execution took
place, in the Grande Place, on June 5, 1568.

[Illustration: GHENT

THE Arrière Faucille (Achter Sikkel).]

When the Congress of Ghent assembled in 1576, the castle was occupied
by a Spanish garrison, who refused to capitulate. It was accordingly
besieged by William of Orange, and 'the deliberations of the Congress
were opened under the incessant roar of cannon.' The siege ended, by
the surrender of the Spaniards, on the very day on which the sittings
of the Congress were finished by the conclusion of the treaty known as
the 'Pacification,' which was signed at Ghent on November 9, 1576.
'The Pacification, as soon as published, was received with a shout of
joy. Proclaimed in the market-place of every city and village, it was
ratified, not by votes, but by hymns of thanksgiving, by triumphal
music, by thundering of cannon, and by the blaze of beacons throughout
the Netherlands.'[29] The Castle, a monument of the Spanish tyranny,
was pulled down; but many fragments still remain of the ancient Abbey
of St. Bavon.

[Illustration: GHENT

THE ruins of the cloisters of the Abbey of St. Bavon.]

In the first quarter of the fifteenth century Hubert van Eyck and
his brother Jan were living at Ghent. Here Hubert began to paint the
celebrated altar-piece, 'The Adoration of the Immaculate Lamb,' which
his brother finished after his death. This great painting, having
survived the greed of Philip II., the fanaticism of the Puritan
iconoclasts, and the rapacity of the French revolutionary army, now
hangs in the Cathedral of St. Bavon; and every year hundreds of
travellers visit Ghent in order to see what is, beyond doubt, the
finest production of the Early Flemish School. In the choir, too,
of the Cathedral are four huge candlesticks of copper, which were
originally made as ornaments for the grave of Henry VIII. at Windsor,
but were sold during the Commonwealth.

In 1500 the infant who afterwards became the Emperor Charles V. was
carried from the Cour des Princes to the Cathedral. 'His baptism,'
we read in local history, 'was celebrated with right royal pomp in
the Church of St. Bavon. Great rejoicings signalized the event. The
fountains lavishly sent up streams of purple wine from their fantastic
jets, "mysteries" and mummeries, masks and merry-makings, usurped
for a time the place of commerce and earnest speculation. The brave
and steady citizens of Ghent ran riot from the house, and never was
Venice herself more wild in the days of her maddest carnival. We are
told that a magic gallery, 200 feet long, which was maintained during
this temporary jubilee in a state of sufficient security to insure the
safety of the thousands who thronged it, was erected at a giddy height
across the streets, connecting the tower of the great Belfry with that
of the Church of St. Nicholas. This was, for three consecutive nights,
profusely illuminated, and threw a brilliant glow over the gay scene,
in which all Ghent was revelling below.'

In the time of Charles V., Ghent was not only the most powerful city in
the rich Netherlands, but one of the most opulent in all Europe.
And what the Belfry, whose chimes ring out with such sweet melody
by night and day, was to Bruges, that was to the more warlike men
of Ghent the 'iron tongue' of Roland, the mighty bell which hung in
the lofty watch-tower. It called them to arms. It sent them forth to
battle. It welcomed them home victorious, or bade them meet and defend
their privileges in the market-place. 'It seemed, as it were, a living
historical personage, endowed with the human powers and passions which
it had so long directed and inflamed.'

The Belfry of Ghent, black with age, still towers above the Cloth Hall.
But when, in 1540, the Emperor went there for the purpose of humbling
the town, and punishing the burghers for their disobedience, he made
a decree that Roland, whose voice had so often given the signal for
revolt, should be taken down. No greater insult could have been offered
to the proud city.

Bruges fell into the decay from which she has never yet recovered
chiefly because, at a time when the whole commerce of Flanders and
Brabant was beginning to languish, she lost her communications with the
sea; and Ypres was ruined by years of internal discord and constant
war. But Ghent, the third of the three 'Bonnes Villes' of Flanders,
though the industrial depression which spread over the Netherlands
and the long struggle against Spain combined to ruin her, has come
triumphant through all vicissitudes. In the old days the men of Ghent
were famous for their turbulent spirit and love of independence. It was
no easy task to rule them, as Counts of Flanders, or Dukes of Burgundy,
or Kings of Spain often found to their cost. And now it seems as if
the robust character of the burghers who fought so hard, in mediæval
times, to maintain their liberties, had been merely turned into another
channel, and transmitted to their descendants in the shape of that keen
activity in commerce which makes this town so prosperous at the present
day.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 29: Motley's _Rise of the Dutch Republic_, part iv., chap. v.]



CHAPTER XIII

THE DUKES OF BRABANT--THE JOYEUSE ENTRÉE--END OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY


A few miles to the south-west of Alost, on the borders of East
Flanders, the River Dendre, on its way to join the Scheldt, forms
the boundary of Brabant. From Denderleeuw, the frontier station, to
Brussels is about fifteen miles by train, through a district which
gradually loses the bare flatness of the plains of Flanders, and
becomes wooded, undulating, and hilly as we approach the city.

And Brussels is quite different from the fallen towns of Flanders.
There are no mouldering ramparts here, and very few uneven causeways,
but broad boulevards, shaded by trees; handsome modern houses; wooden
pavements in some parts; a Bourse; arcades and bazaars; tempting shops,
their windows decked with Parisian art; theatres and music-halls;
glittering restaurants and expensive hotels. It is all modern,
spacious, full of movement. While Bruges and Ypres live chiefly in the
past, Brussels lives chiefly in the present and the future. But in the
middle of the city is the famous Grande Place; and the tall houses, so
gloriously picturesque with pointed gables and gilded cornices; and the
exquisite Hôtel de Ville with its curiously carved façade and steep
roof pierced by innumerable little windows, above which the graceful
spire, that 'miracle of needlework in stone,' has towered for 500
years. Here, as everywhere in the Netherlands, the traditions of the
past are imperishable; and we may look back and see how this bright,
gay, pleasant city--the 'petit Paris,' as its people love to call
it--rose and grew.

Old Brabant extended from beyond Tournai on the west to what is now the
Dutch frontier beyond Turnhout on the east, and from the neighbourhood
of Ghent nearly to Liége. Just north of the forest of Soignies a ridge
of undulating hills overlooked the little River Senne, which wound
along eastwards through sandbanks and brushwood. On an island in
this stream, according to tradition, a chapel was built by St. Gery,
Bishop of Cambrai; a watch-tower, afterwards named the Tower of St.
Nicholas, was erected on a hillock near the island; wooden houses, with
thatched roofs, began to appear on the banks and here and there
on the steep hillside up which pathways, afterwards to become streets,
clambered towards a promontory called the Coudenberg, or Cold Mountain;
a market was established; and the village became known as Bruxelles, or
(at least so it is said) 'the house in the swamp,' from _bruc_, swamp,
and _celle_, house.

[Illustration: BRUSSELS

PLACE de Brouckére.]

From a long time, in the early tales about Brabant, there are the
usual legends of warriors and saints; but when we reach the period
of authentic history there are four chief towns, Louvain, Brussels,
Antwerp, and Bois-le-Duc. Of these the most important was Louvain. In
1190 the Counts of Louvain became Dukes of Brabant. They built a castle
on the Coudenberg, and for the next 300 years the Court of Brabant was
celebrated for its power and splendour.

Lying in the midst of a fertile district, and on the trade-route
from Flanders to Germany, Brussels was a convenient stopping-place
for travellers. But in the Middle Ages, when Bruges, Ghent, Ypres,
and other places were so prosperous, the history of Brussels is less
eventful; and it was only when the famous Flemish cities were about to
fall that the town on the Senne became an important centre of industry.
Its population, too, increased rapidly, owing to the numbers of
workmen who came from Louvain in consequence of commercial troubles
there.

So trade flourished, and Brussels grew rich; but the continual wars
which desolated France, the chief market for the manufactures of the
Netherlands, did harm to the linen trade, which suffered also from
the keen competition of English merchants. The raw material came from
England, and by prohibiting the exportation of wool England was able
to well-nigh ruin this branch of the trade of Flanders and Brabant.
Fortunately, however, for Brussels, the introduction of new industries
at this critical time made the damage to the linen trade less fatal,
and with the growth of flax-weaving, the art of tapestry-making,
dye-works, and the production of valuable armour, the town more than
held its own.

Luxury and display followed, as usual, in the train of wealth, and
Brussels became a city of pleasure, of fêtes, and gorgeous festivals.
The Court of Brabant was one of the most luxurious and dissolute in
Europe. The Dukes set an example of extravagance which was followed by
the Barons who surrounded them, and also by the rich bourgeois. 'The
people alone,' we are told, 'that is to say, the men without leisure,
the artisans, remained apart from excesses.' There was luxury in dress,
in armour, in furniture. The rich went about clad in gold brocades
and other costly stuffs, attended by servants in fine liveries. Their
horses were richly caparisoned, and their wives and daughters spent
large sums on magnificent robes, and decked themselves with jewels, and
garlands from the rose-gardens for which Brussels was already famous.

Every occasion for a fête was eagerly welcomed. Not only was there the
yearly 'Ommegang,' that time-honoured procession through the streets of
triumphal cars, bands of music, and giants, which delighted the people
of Brabant and Flanders, but each separate guild and confraternity had
its own festival. In private life every event--a birth, a baptism, a
marriage, or a death--was an excuse for spending money on display.
To such an extent, indeed, was this carried, that rules were made
forbidding invitations being sent except to near relatives, to prevent
people going to fêtes without being asked, and at length even to put
some limit on the value of the presents which it was customary to give
to guests. The licentious and wasteful habits of the _jeunesse dorée_
became so notorious, that there was a lock-up at each of the city
gates for the benefit of young men who were living too fast. In such a
state of society the money-lender saw his chance; but a law was passed
making it illegal for anyone to sign a promissory note, or anticipate
his inheritance, before reaching the age of twenty-eight. Brussels was
full of taverns, and there were parts of the town where every house was
occupied by women of easy virtue. Fortunes were recklessly squandered,
and most of the nobles are said to have been insolvent, and to have
left heavy debts behind them.

Not a vestige remains of the wall which surrounded this mediæval
Brussels except the Porte de Hal, at the corner where the modern
Boulevard de Waterloo meets the Boulevard du Midi; and the Hôtel de
Ville and the guild-houses in the Grande Place have undergone many
changes since the fourteenth century. A great part of the Church of
Ste. Gudule, however--the choir and transept, part of the nave, and
the south aisle--was built in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries;
and during that period Notre Dame de la Chapelle and Notre Dame du
Sablon rose on the foundations of more ancient churches. The houses,
even of the rich, were still of wood, with sometimes a tower of
stone, built irregularly on the hillside which rose from the valley
of the Senne, each house standing by itself, with its thatched roof,
from which in winter the rain or melted snow poured (there were, of
course, no gutters then), and found its way down to the lower ground,
which was thus little better than a swamp, even long after Brussels
had become an important city. It was in the midst of this mixture of
discomfort and luxury, so characteristic of the Middle Ages, that the
people of Brussels, and of Brabant generally, passed their lives--gay,
joyous, dissolute, but always with an eye to the main chance, and
growing richer and richer. And in one thing Brabant differed greatly
from Flanders. While in Flanders the towns were generally at deadly
feud with each other--Bruges fighting with Ghent, and Ghent at enmity
with Ypres, with each town divided into hostile factions, such as the
Leliarts and Clauwerts, within its own walls, the people of Brabant
seem to have lived at peace with each other, and, as a rule, to have
made it their first business always to combine for the defence of their
common interests. And in the middle of the fourteenth century came a
time which called for mutual reliance.

The last Duke of Brabant in the male line of the House of Louvain
was Jean III. He died in 1355, leaving no heir male; and thus the
succession fell to his daughter Jeanne,[30] who had married Wencelas,
brother of Charles IV. of Luxembourg.

From time immemorial the rulers of Brabant, on succeeding to the
throne, had taken an oath to maintain the liberty of their subjects;
and many charters confirming ancient rights and privileges had been
drawn up for the towns and communes. Before recognising the Duchess
Jeanne and her husband, the towns of Brabant addressed to them a
series of demands, which they requested the new rulers to accept.
These took the form of a charter enumerating and confirming all the
points which constituted public liberty in Brabant; and this charter
received the name of the Joyeuse Entrée (or Blyde Incompste), because
it was hailed with such applause by the representatives of the people.
The inauguration of the Duchess Jeanne and Wencelas took place at
Louvain on January 3, 1356, when they swore to maintain all the
ancient privileges of the country. Thereafter the act of inauguration
of each ruler of Brabant was known as his Joyeuse Entrée, and each
Joyeuse Entrée was a development of acts declaring public rights
which had previously existed, just as Magna Charta was founded on the
older liberties of England. Each Duke had his Joyeuse Entrée, which
he accepted sometimes with as little goodwill as King John felt at
Runnymede. Thus, this famous constitution, the best known and the
most liberal of all the free charters in the Netherlands, was not a
parchment drawn up at one time, but a declaration of public rights
which gradually developed.[31]

'The inauguration of a Duke of Brabant was a splendid and imposing
ceremony. The Prince, who was lord of the noble Duchy, went to make
himself known to his subjects, and to confirm the relations which
secured both his and their happiness. He arrived, with his courtiers,
at the ancient capital of Brabant, Louvain. As he descended the
Brussels road he saw from afar the cradle of his ancestors, with its
steeples, towers, and majestic walls, in the rich valley of the Dyle.
Before entering, the heir of the old Counts of Louvain stopped for
a little at the gates of the city, in the Monastery of Terbanck,
where, in the midst of an immense crowd, the clergy, the officers of
the University, and the magistrates, came to greet him. The brilliant
assemblage then went into the chapel, where the Abbess of Terbanck, at
the altar, took the crucifix and gave it to the highest dignitary of
the Church who was present, and he, approaching the Duke, gave it him
to kiss. The Rector of the University made an oration in the name of
the University and the clergy. The Mayor placed in the Duke's hands the
red staff of justice, emblem of his office. The Burgomaster gave him
the keys of the city; and the Pensionary of Louvain welcomed him on
behalf of all the local magistrates. Then the procession, to the sound
of trumpets, went forth on horseback through the gates, the Duke and
his Councillors, the States of Brabant, and the magistrates of Louvain,
to the Church of St. Pierre, where they all dismounted and entered
the choir; and there, after prayers had been said, the Prince swore
to maintain the liberties and privileges of the Church in Brabant.
Thence they went to the market-place, which was between the church and
the Hôtel de Ville. The Duke took his stand on a platform with the
representatives of the people of Brabant, and the Chancellor announced
that he was about to swear his Joyeuse Entrée. The Act of Inauguration
was read, first in Flemish and then in French, and the Duke repeated
it word for word, and took an oath to the barons, nobles, towns,
and franchises of the Duchy, that he would be their good and loyal
seigneur, and that he would not treat them otherwise than justly, and
in accordance with all their rights. They clothed the Duke in a robe of
crimson trimmed with ermine, and put the ducal coronet of Brabant upon
his head. The States swore fidelity to him. The trumpets sounded. The
air was filled with acclamations; and the heralds' voices crying, "Long
live the Duke of Brabant!" told the Duchy that another ruler had taken
possession of his heritage in accordance with ancient custom.'[32]

The 'States' of Brabant grew out of the primitive method of government
by an assembly of the people in the market-place, where each vassal
voted in person. Later, chosen representatives alone voted; and at the
end of the fourteenth century the clergy began to attend as a separate
order in the assembly. The name of 'États' was not used in Brabant till
1421, when the nobles, clergy, and commons called themselves the States
of Brabant.[33] Side by side with the States grew up the Council of
Brabant, which was originally a consulting body, a judicial council to
assist the Duke in administering the law, but which gradually came to
concern itself with the management of local affairs, while the States
conducted the public business of the duchy.

Soon after the inauguration of Jeanne and Wencelas, the jealous and
ambitious Louis of Maele, Count of Flanders, who had married Jeanne's
sister Marguerite, made war upon Brabant, and the struggle continued
for years. Wencelas, whom Froissart describes as a wise and gallant
man, was at last quite worn out by the troubles which beset him. He
spent the winter and summer of 1382-1383 at Brussels with his wife, and
tried to forget his sorrows in hunting, and in a round of balls and
tournaments. But his health was ruined, and, having gone to breathe his
native air in Luxembourg, he died there on December 3, 1383.

The Duchess Jeanne, who survived her husband for thirteen years, years
of constant trouble, died on December 1, 1406, at the age of eighty,
after a reign of fifty years, and was buried in the old church of the
Carmelites at Brussels. On her death the duchy of Brabant passed, by a
family arrangement, to the House of Burgundy.[34]

Under the House of Burgundy, during the fifteenth century Brussels
became more than ever a city of pomp, gaiety, and pleasure. For nearly
half a century of this period the history of Brabant is full of the
names of Philip the Good and Charles the Bold. Philip lived generally
at Brussels, and this brought to the town so many Frenchmen that French
became the language of the Court and the fashionable tongue amongst
the noblesse. The old castle or palace of the Dukes of Brabant on
the Coudenberg was enlarged, and beautified by the addition of the
Great Hall, where the Knights of the Golden Fleece, whose Order Philip
founded, used to hold their Chapters, and which in later days was to
witness the imposing spectacle of the abdication of Charles V. The
boundaries of the park were extended, walls were built round it, and
it was stocked with game. Bishops and nobles built themselves great
mansions. The first stone of the magnificent Hôtel de Ville had been
carved at the beginning of the century, and in 1444 Charles the Bold,
then only ten years old, laid the foundations of the lofty spire, on
the summit of which ten years later was placed that gilded statue of
St. Michael which is there to this day. The Burgundian Library still
remains, with its wealth of illuminated manuscripts and rare books; and
the paintings of Roger van der Weyden and his cotemporaries show how
art flourished at Brussels in the fifteenth century.

Unlike Philip, Charles the Bold detested the people of Brussels. His
father, he said, had increased their riches and their pride beyond
measure. He attacked the States of Brabant, and threatened to pull
down the walls and gates of Brussels. And when, after sweeping like a
tempest over Europe, he died before the walls of Nancy in 1477,
and the male line of the House of Burgundy came to an end, it was seen
that the wide domain over which his family had reigned so proudly, and
which he left to his daughter Marie, was torn by internal dissensions,
and that the people of Brabant and Flanders were smarting under the
inroads which had been made upon their ancient privileges.

[Illustration: BRUSSELS

ENTRANCE to the old church of the Carmelites.]

The Duchess Marie succeeded to a splendid inheritance, but her position
was full of difficulty. Her treasury was empty. She had no army at
her command. Popular discontent was growing. Her father had made the
haughty burghers of Ghent bow before him, but as soon as he was dead
they rose again. Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, all Brabant, were seething
with disaffection. Payment of the taxes was refused and the officers
of the Government were ill-treated. And, moreover, Hannibal was at the
gates, in the person of Louis XI., who had rejoiced on hearing of the
fate of Charles the Bold. The inauguration of Marie took place at the
end of May, 1477, five months after her father's death; and her Joyeuse
Entrée not only renewed the public rights which Philip and Charles had
infringed, but placed fresh restrictions on the power of the future
rulers of Brabant.

The marriage of the young Duchess to some husband who could defend her
rights was seen to be the only means of preserving the peace of the
country. Her distrust of Louis XI. led her to refuse an alliance with a
French Prince. She chose the Archduke Maximilian of Austria, and thus
the fortunes of Brabant and Flanders were united with the fortunes of
the House of Hapsburg, and the opportunity of peacefully absorbing
Belgium was lost to France.

The marriage was celebrated in August, 1477. Five years later Marie
died, leaving a son--the boy, then four years of age, who was
afterwards known as Philip the Fair. He in turn married Joanna,
daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain; and the offspring of this
marriage was the Great Emperor Charles V., during whose reign the
capital of Brabant was more brilliant than ever.

No story is better known than the story of how in the evil days,
when Philip II. ruled the 'Spanish Netherlands' in the interests
of the Church, Bréderode and his friends, hearing of Berlaimont's
scornful words, assumed the name of 'Beggars,' by which their party
was afterwards known. But how typical it is! How full their doings
are of the gay spirit of Brabant! It is springtime, fresh and bright,
when the confederate nobles leave the mansion of Count Kuilemburg,[35]
a brilliant company of handsome, hot-blooded men of fashion and high
birth, bearded all, and dressed in the elaborate finery of that time,
and walk to the palace, where Margaret of Parma awaits them. They pass
along the roadway which crowns the ridge, overlooking the multitude
of pointed roofs below them to the left, with the spire of the Hôtel
de Ville rising from where an opening among the housetops marks the
situation of the Grande Place, where so many of them are afterwards
to lay down their lives. The majestic towers of Ste. Gudule stand
out above the houses which cluster round them on the plateau of St.
Michael. In front of them is the palace, and beyond it the green glades
and pleasure-grounds of the park. A crowd of people, who have climbed
up from the lower town by the long steep way known as La Chausée and
the Montagne de la Cour, greet them with cheers at the entrance of the
palace. The doors of that magnificent dwelling receive the glittering
band, who go with gay insouciance to their momentous interview, and
come out from it in the same spirit. They walk about the streets,
and pass Berlaimont, who is talking to Arenberg. 'Look at our fine
beggars!' says Berlaimont. 'How they ruffle it before us!' They sup
at Kuilemburg's. Bréderode repeats Berlaimont's jest against them.
They take it up. They toast 'The Beggars.' They dress themselves up as
beggars, with leathern wallets and wooden bowls. They laugh, and spill
their wine about, drain more bumpers to the Beggars' health, dance on
the tables, and shout 'Vivent les Gueux!'[36] Not even the grave face
of Orange, who comes in, can stop the revel. And next day they lay
aside their fine clothes, dress themselves, their families, and their
servants as beggars, shave off their beards, and go about with wallets
and bowls.

This was the spirit of the masquerade, of the carnival, the Kermesse;
and thirty years later, when for a whole generation the country had
suffered unexampled miseries, and most of the beggars of 1566 had
perished by a violent death, the arrival of the Archduke Ernest as
Governor of Brabant was made the occasion for a grotesque display--'a
stately procession of knights and burghers in historical and
mythological costumes, followed by ships, dromedaries, elephants,
whales, giants, dragons.' A strange people. The Dutch had fought with
all the courage of the Nervii, and gained their freedom. The Belgians,
descendants of the Nervii, had been slaughtered, defeated, tortured,
and made slaves, had seen their country laid waste, and their cherished
liberties taken from them wholesale; and yet, when all was lost and the
heel of the oppressor was planted firmly on their necks, they were made
happy by a circus procession.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 30: Born at Brussels, June 24, 1322.]

[Footnote 31: The text of the Joyeuse Entrée of Jeanne and Wencelas is
given by Abbé Nameche, vol. iv., pp. 671-679, and the latest form which
it took will be found in Poullet's _Histoire de la Joyeuse Entrée de
Brabant_, pp. 339-350.]

[Footnote 32: Poullet, p. 3.]

[Footnote 33: 'Mais bientôt les intérêts communs formèrent des
Associations particulières dans le seins même de l'assemblée. Les
nobles étaient unis par le droit de la féodalité; au treizième et au
quatorzième siècle, les villes Brabançonnes conclurent entre elles des
traités d'alliance, et de là l'origine des ordres. On sentit alors
l'inconvénient du vote individuel, et l'on admit que les individualités
particulières seraient liées par la majorité des suffrages dans le même
ordre': (Poullet, p. 45).]

[Footnote 34: Wencelas and Jeanne had no children. Jeanne made a will
leaving the Duchy of Brabant to her niece Marguerite (daughter of Louis
of Maele and her sister), who had married Philip the Bold, Duke of
Burgundy. Philip the Bold and Marguerite of Maele had two sons--Jean,
who became Duke of Burgundy and Count of Flanders on the death of his
father; and Antoine, who became Duke of Brabant on the death of his
mother.]

[Footnote 35: In what is now the Rue des Petits Carmes.]

[Footnote 36: 'Then for the first time, from the lips of those reckless
nobles, rose the famous cry, which was so often to ring over land and
sea, amid blazing cities, on blood-stained decks, through the smoke
and carnage of many a stricken field.'--MOTLEY: _Rise of the Dutch
Republic_.]



CHAPTER XIV

THE BOMBARDMENT OF 1695--THE GRANDE PLACE--CHURCH OF STE.
GUDULE--CHARLES OF LORRAINE


The sixteenth century closes with the cession by Philip II. of the
Spanish Netherlands to his daughter Isabella, as a dowry on her
marriage to the Archduke Albert of Austria. The King died on September
13, 1598, and a year later the Infanta and her husband entered Brabant.
When they rode through Brussels in the state procession, the Infanta's
saddle was studded with diamonds and rubies to the value of 200,000
florins. The magistrates presented them with a magnificent service of
silver plate. There were fêtes, fireworks, and illuminations, which
lasted for three days. On a medal struck to commemorate this occasion,
we see them seated in a triumphal chair, surrounded by sunbeams, and
with olive branches in their hands. The condition of the country was
deplorable, but the evils of the time seemed all forgotten in the
midst of a round of festivities. The private virtues of Isabella and
her husband made them popular, but, needless to say, Belgium was the
battlefield of Europe during most of the seventeenth century.

These almost incessant wars culminated, so far as Brussels was
concerned, in the bombardment of August, 1695. For twenty years the
city had been menaced with destruction. It is said that Antoinette
Bourignon, a noted adventuress and soothsayer, who died in 1681, had
foretold that the capital of Brabant would perish by fire, and this was
remembered when, in the summer of 1695, Villeroi, failing to relieve
Namur, which William III. was then besieging, marched on Brussels with
an army 70,000 strong.

In the first week of August it became known that an immense store of
bombs had been prepared at Mons, and that Villeroi was at Enghien.
The French left that place on the 10th, and next day encamped at
Anderlecht, close to Brussels. Preparations were made for defence. The
Guilds furnished men; the avenues between the Porte de Namur and the
Porte de Hal were fortified; and the low-lying grounds were inundated.
But the French came nearer; and on the 13th Villeroi sent in a message
saying that the Most Christian King had ordered him to bombard the town
in retaliation for the way in which the English and Dutch fleets had
treated the seaports of France; that, as vengeance was repugnant to the
goodness of his master, he had been commanded to say that if the allies
would in future refrain from such modes of warfare, he would do the
same by them, and retire from before the city if, within six hours, he
received a definite answer of such a nature that he could accept it.

On receiving this ultimatum, the magistrates asked for time to
communicate with the Elector and the King of England. An hour and
a half was granted, but as no answer had been sent when that time
expired, some bombs were thrown, and one man was killed on the Montagne
de la Cour. Presently a message arrived from the Elector asking for a
delay of twenty-four hours, so that he might send for the opinion of
King William. Villeroi's reply was to commence the bombardment at once,
and forthwith bomb-shells and red-hot shot came pouring on the town.

The cannonade began at seven in the evening, and continued all night
and during part of next morning. The whole city was in wild confusion,
the people flying for refuge, as their dwellings took fire. There was
a strong wind blowing from the west, and the flames spread from one
house to another along the narrow streets, especially in the centre
of the town, which was soon blazing like a vast furnace. It is said
that nearly 4,000 houses were burned to the ground, and many damaged
beyond repair. In the Grande Place, the Hôtel de Ville, the Brodhuis,
and other old buildings were almost totally destroyed. The Church of
St. Nicholas, the tower of which was the belfry of Brussels, sank in
ruins. Many sick persons perished in burning hospitals. Convents and
churches were shattered, and their ornaments, paintings, and archives
disappeared. The old church of the Carmelites was entirely destroyed,
and of the tomb of Jeanne, the last Duchess of Brabant, who was buried
in the choir, not a trace remained. When the work of destruction was
finished, and the French retired, it was seen that a great part of the
city was lying in ruins.

Before the bombardment, the Hôtel de Ville was nearly in its original
condition; but now the west side was demolished by the bomb-shells,
the roof had been consumed by the flames, and the whole building,
with the exception of the spire and the west front, was almost
entirely destroyed. So that the Hôtel de Ville of Brussels, as we
see it now, is, except the spire and the façade towards the Grande
Place, much changed from what it was previously to 1695.[37] So are
the guild-houses--l'Étoile, the first house next to the Hôtel de
Ville, looking from the Grande Place, in the fourteenth century the
headquarters of the Amman, or head of the trades, and once a tavern
surrounded by a garden; Le Cygne, next to l'Étoile, which had been
rebuilt in 1523 with a façade of wood; the Maison des Brasseurs, in the
seventeenth century the guild-house of the brewers, and now a café,
surmounted by a modern statue of Charles of Lorraine. These houses, and
many more, suffered from the French shot, and had to be practically
rebuilt.

The most interesting building in the Grande Place, with the exception
of the Hôtel de Ville, is that in the north-east corner, opposite the
Hôtel de Ville. It is now called the 'Maison du Roi,' but is known to
history as the 'Brodhuis,' because a list of the current prices for
bread used to be put up there, when it was a _dépendance_ of the Hôtel
de Ville. It was so much damaged by the bombardment that it had to be
entirely pulled down, but was rebuilt exactly on the original place in
every detail. It was in the original Brodhuis that Egmont and Horn were
imprisoned, and led forth to execution in the Grande Place on June 5,
1568. The large chamber on the third story, now the Communal Museum, is
on the site of the room in which Egmont passed his last night, and is
exactly the same, except that the present roof is higher. So well was
the restoration of this beautiful building done, that no great effort
of imagination is needed to picture the last scenes of that dismal
tragedy.

[Illustration: BRUSSELS

THE Cathedral of Ste. Gudule.]

Nothing remains of the first Church of Ste. Gudule, which is said to
have stood on the spot now occupied by the nave, and to have been
erected there early in the eleventh century, on the site of a still
older church. The present building dates from the thirteenth century.
It suffered at the hands of the Reformers during the religious
troubles of the sixteenth century, having been sacked and pillaged
on June 6, 1579. The clergy had the foresight to carry away most of
their treasures before the storm burst; but many tombs and monuments
were ruthlessly destroyed. The vault of the Dukes of Brabant was
violated; but in 1585, after the return of the Spaniards, the remains
which had been torn from their coffins and scattered about were
collected and placed in a large wooden chest. In May, 1834, when the
vault was opened for the burial of the Prince Royal, son of Leopold
I., and brother of the present King of the Belgians, a number of bones
were found lying on the ground--the bones of the Dukes and Princes of
the lordly House of Brabant, the chest which contained them having
mouldered away.

During the French occupation, Ste. Gudule, which had passed uninjured
through Villeroi's bombardment, was closed for two years, from 1798
to 1800, and there was a proposal to pull it down to make way for a
theatre.

By that time, however, Brussels had several theatres; and of these the
best known was the Théâtre de la Monnaie. Until the works of the great
French dramatists were introduced, the only spectacles of the nature
of stage-plays known in Brussels were long, dull pieces in the form
generally of mystery plays. For instance, in the sixteenth century they
acted, at the Convent of the Carmelites, the 'Tragedy of the Passion.'
In this piece, which was in three acts, there was a chorus of children
dressed as angels. News was brought to the wife of Malchus that St.
Peter had cut off her husband's ear, on which the angels sang:

           'Quand Pierrot coupit
            À Malchus l'oreille
            Le Seigneur lui dit,
  Turelututu renguaine, renguaine,
  Turelututu renguaine, renguaine ton coutiau,
            Dans son fouriau.'

It was a great change from monkish doggerel like this to the French
dramas, which, after being first played privately at the houses of
some of the nobility, soon reached the general public, and created the
demand for a theatre. In 1698 the old Mint House, which stood in the
Place de la Monnaie, at that time a narrow thoroughfare blocked up by
wooden buildings, was bought by an architect, Jean Paul Bombarda. He
obtained leave to erect a 'Hôtel des Spectacles,' and was granted a
monopoly of playing operas and comedies, and giving balls, for thirty
years from January, 1705. But one manager after another failed, and
it seemed as if the theatre must close its doors, when the actors
themselves formed in 1766 a company on the model of the Comédie
Française, which afterwards received a subsidy from the city. From
that time the fortunes of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, now so well known,
began to mend. The present building dates from 1817.

It was during the peaceable reign of Maria Theresa--peaceable, at
least, so far as the soil of Belgium was concerned--that the theatre
became so popular in Brussels. Brabant was then free from the troubles
which had so often interfered with progress in more important things
than the stage; and the people of the capital were kept in good-humour
by the popularity of Duke Charles of Lorraine, who became Governor of
the Austrian Netherlands in 1741.

In March, 1744, he came to live permanently in Brussels, accompanied by
his wife, the Archduchess Marie, sister of Maria Theresa. They entered
by the Allée Verte, then and for a long time after the fashionable
promenade of Brussels. A battalion of the English Horse Guards was
drawn up on the meadows at the side of the avenue. The Duke reviewed
these troops; and then the cavalcade started along that green way from
the Palace of Laeken, which so many joyful bands have trodden. The
Horse Guards led the procession. Then came Charles of Lorraine in a
carriage, followed by Ministers of State, and the lords and gentlemen
of the Court, attended by some squadrons of English cavalry. At the
Porte de Laeken, the burgomaster, kneeling reverently, presented
the keys of the city in a silver basin. Thence they went through
the streets to the Hôtel de Ville, and up the Rue de la Montagne to
the Church of Ste. Gudule, where they were received by the Cardinal
Archbishop of Malines and his clergy, who said mass. In the evening
every street and square in Brussels blazed with illuminations.

That day was the beginning of a long period of gaiety for the
pleasure-loving city. No ruler could have suited the people of
Brussels better than Charles of Lorraine. The annals of his time are
full of merrymaking, the accounts of which enable us, perhaps better
than graver histories do, to understand the Court of the Austrian
Netherlands in the long reign of Maria Theresa.

In February, 1752, we find the Duke giving a 'Venetian Fête' in the
palace of the Duc d'Arenberg, at which all the gay people in Brussels
were present. There were four quadrilles, the first consisting of eight
ladies and gentlemen dressed as gardeners, the second of pilgrims, the
third and fourth of peasants and sailors. A masked supper followed
the dancing, and at midnight all the company, still in their masks,
drove in open carriages through the streets. The coachmen were masked,
as were the grooms who rode beside each carriage with torches, and so
were the musicians who played before and after them on their way to the
Théâtre de la Monnaie, where they danced and feasted and gambled till
morning.

Charles of Lorraine lived generally at the château of Tervueren,
where he spent large sums on stocking the woods and lakes with game
and fish. 'What I must put in my park at Tervueren,' he notes in his
private diary--'8 roe bucks, 150 hares, 100 pheasants, 4 wood cocks, 6
grey hens, 10 Guinea fowls, 50 partridges, 20 red partridges, 100 wild
ducks. Of fish--600 tortoises, 300 crabs, 200 trout, 100 sturgeons.'

Every day he jotted down in his diary all his doings, all his petty
cash payments, what the members of his Court did, and even the names
of their mistresses. The Duc d'Arenberg gives jewels to La Nogentelle,
a danseuse at the Monnaie. The Dutch Minister is ruining himself for
La Cintray, another dancer; and the English Minister has lost his head
over Mademoiselle Durancy. The Prince de Ligne and M. Androuins spent
much time and money in company with the sisters Eugénie and Angélique
d'Hannetaire. M. d'Hannetaire, the father of these young women, had
begun life as a comedian in Brussels, and was now manager of the
Monnaie. He had three daughters, who went in the _demi-monde_ by the
name of the Three Graces, and used their father's house as a place of
assignation for gentlemen of quality. D'Hannetaire is said to have been
luckier than most managers, and to have made a large fortune, much of
it by the faro-table in the foyer of his theatre, where at that time
heavy gambling went on every night.

Duke Charles was a great gourmet, and gave famous dinners, and, of
course, makes a note of the wines. Burgundy was evidently his own
favourite tipple. He drank at least a bottle at every meal; but there
was Rhine wine, Champagne, Bordeaux, and Tokay for his guests, not to
speak of cognac, maraschino, and other liqueurs, all of the very best.
He had red partridges sent from the Tyrol; and his cash-book records
'114 livres paid to an express from Venice with a barrel of tunny-fish
in oil, and for another express from Hamburg with a barrel of English
oysters and black mussels.' In the official calendar of this jovial
Prince the names of all who worked in his kitchen are given, from
the head chef down to the turnspits. The name of the Chef Rôtisseur,
curiously enough, was Rognon. The Comte de Sart held the important
office of Grand Maître des Cuisines.

He was the darling of Brussels, and so much loved that in the year
1766, when he was very ill, the churches were never empty all day long,
so many pious people went to pray for his recovery. When his health was
restored there were all sorts of festivities: the fountains spouted
wine; half the town got drunk; the Prince de Ligne had an ox roasted
whole on the street in front of his mansion and given to the poor;
and the first time the Duke appeared at the theatre there was so much
applause that the performance was stopped, and his doctor, who was seen
in a box, was cheered again and again for having cured his patient.

Three years later, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his coming to
Brabant, there were fêtes which continued for days. The Hôtel de Ville,
the Brodhuis, and all the Grande Place glittered with coloured lights.
The Comte de Sart illuminated his house with 1,000 red and yellow
lanterns. There was a great banquet in the Hôtel de Ville, where 1,400
guests, the ladies seated and the gentlemen standing, were waited on
by 200 grenadiers, and a free performance at the theatre, where two
glasses of punch were given to each spectator. Medals were struck to
commemorate the event. The town of Brussels presented the Duke with
25,000 florins, and the States of Brabant voted him a statue and 40,000
florins.

There never was a Prince so popular or so respected in Brussels before
or after him, and he had thirty-six long years of it. But the revels
came to an end in July, 1780, when he died at his château at Tervueren,
and was buried in the Church of Ste. Gudule, in the vault of Albert and
Isabella.

Five months later the news reached Brussels that the Empress Maria
Theresa had died at Vienna; and on the evening of December 23 a funeral
service was held in Ste. Gudule. Mass being ended, the heralds,
standing at the high altar, proclaimed the titles of the late Empress.
Then one of them said in solemn tones: 'She is dead; may God have mercy
on her soul.' And as the clergy intoned the _De Profundis_, sobs were
heard in every corner of the dark, vast building, amidst which Toison
d'Or, King-at-Arms, took up the sword of State, and, holding it high
above his head, cried with a loud voice: 'Long live Joseph the Second,
our Sovereign!'


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 37: There is an engraving showing the ruins of the Grande
Place in 1695 in Wauters' _Histoire de la Ville de Bruxelles_, vol.
ii., p. 132.]



CHAPTER XV

JOSEPH II. AND THE REVOLUTION OF BRABANT


It was difficult to follow an Empress like Maria Theresa, or to find
a successor to Charles of Lorraine in the government of the Austrian
Netherlands. But if ever a Sovereign came to a throne full of good
intentions it was Joseph II.; and yet, while the easy-going Charles
had pleased the people of Brussels for thirty-six years, the reforming
Joseph had in less than ten caused the Revolution of Brabant.

It was evident that many reforms were urgent. For a long time the
spirit at least of the constitution of Brabant had suffered from the
encroachment of the Imperial Government, and the country was losing
its moral fibre. Nor had the peaceful and happy times of the Empress
Maria Theresa rescued the people from the utter demoralization which
long wars and their own submission to Spain had brought about. Every
sphere of social life and every department of the Government required
to be overhauled and invigorated. Moreover, the Austrian Netherlands
were as Catholic as ever. The new light of the eighteenth century
had not reached the clergy, who were still groping about in mediæval
darkness; and some fresh system of educating the priesthood was clearly
needed. Joseph II. might thus have found his task comparatively easy
if he had gone about it in the right way, and taken counsel with the
representatives of the people before introducing the reforms on which
he was bent. Unfortunately he took a different line, asserted his
personal authority, and tried to play the double rôle of an autocrat
and a reformer, with disastrous results.

The Church was speedily offended, for in November, 1782, the Emperor
issued an edict granting civil liberty to the Protestants, and allowing
them to build churches, to enjoy the privileges of citizenship, to take
University degrees, and hold public offices. The Bishops protested
against all this, but they were not listened to; and another edict
allowed Protestants to open schools in any place where there were a
hundred families of their religion, and to bury their dead according to
their own rites. These measures of toleration were followed by a decree
compelling the religious associations to register all their property
in a new office, called the Caisse de Religion. The appeal to the Pope
was abolished; and the settlement of disputes connected with marriages
was taken from the Bishops, who saw their judgments submitted to the
approval or disapproval of the civil powers. Convents were suppressed
and turned into barracks or hospitals. The Emperor did his best to
alter the Catholic liturgy. He drew up a philosophical catechism of his
own invention. He ordered the use of new vestments. Marriage was to be
regarded as a civil contract, and divorce was to be allowed.

The most fervent adherents of the Church acknowledged that new schools
for the training of young priests were needed; but the Emperor tried
to set up a system of his own in defiance of the views of the clergy.
The chief bone of contention on this point was the establishment of
the Séminaire Générale for the education of youths who were intended
for the priesthood. The University of Louvain, the old capital of
Brabant, had been one of the most celebrated seats of learning in
Europe; and there the new seminary was planted by an edict of October,
1786, which declared that the existing episcopal schools were to be
abolished, and the clergy of the future to be educated at the seminary
of Louvain. The purpose of the Emperor, it was announced in an official
proclamation, was to bring back the clergy of the Netherlands to
'primitive Christianity,' and to substitute for the monkish system
of education 'enthusiasm for their native land and attachment to the
Austrian Monarchy,' to destroy the 'Ultramontane Hydra,' to teach them
science and philosophy, art and letters, and reveal to them the lessons
and the benefits of modern thought and progress; in a word, to make
them useful citizens and give them a liberal education. But the Church
would have none of these things, and in the Catholic Netherlands the
influence of the Church was overwhelming.

At Brussels, certainly, the people were not greatly moved by these
attacks on the privileges of the clergy, nor disturbed at the prospect
of having a cultured priesthood, and only began to grumble when an
attempt was made to interfere with the Kermesses and national fêtes,
in which they so much delighted; but the Emperor went on to irritate
the States and Council of Brabant, which the citizens revered as the
guardians of their liberty, and from that moment his enterprise was
doomed to failure. The States declared that the Church reforms were
illegal; but the Emperor ignored their opinion. The Council declared
that its privileges were invaded by the establishment of a new Court
of Appeal at Brussels. And both the States and the Council protested
against other changes in the system of government on which the Emperor
had set his heart. The Council continued to sit in defiance of his
wishes; and the States met, and refused to vote supplies until their
grievances were redressed. The Joyeuse Entrée had been infringed, they
said; and soon, not only in Brabant, but in every part of Belgium,
people were talking about their rights.[38]

Brabant would not have been Brabant if some comedy had not been acted
on the political stage at such a time. 'It was at this juncture,' we
read, 'that there appeared upon the scene a woman who played a great
rôle in the Revolution. The Dame de Bellem, called La Pinaud, after
having been a lady of fashion at Brussels, began to mix herself up
in political discussions with all the impetuosity of an ardent and
passionate heart. Her intimate relations with the advocate Van der Noot
much contributed, no doubt, to lead her into this path, where she was
followed by her daughter Marianne, the Muse of this period with little
poetry. Both of them helped the enemies of Austria with their pens and
their influence over the numerous young men who attended their soirées;
and the smiles of these two ladies, who are said to have been very
pretty, doubtless gained more partisans to the Revolutionary cause than
the pamphlets of the mother or the verses of the daughter.'[39]

Henri Nicolas Van der Noot, advocate and standing counsel for the
trades before the Council of Brabant, and lover of the Dame de Bellem,
was made President of a Revolutionary Committee at Brussels, and put
his eloquence, which was that of a mob orator, at the service of
the Bishops, who came forward as the defenders of the Constitution.
In vain Joseph II. protested that he had no wish to infringe the
Joyeuse Entrée. Van der Noot thundered, La Pinaud wrote, her daughter
canvassed, the Bishops preached against him. A service was held in Ste.
Gudule to invoke the aid of Heaven against the Séminaire Générale and
all the new ways, and on behalf of the Joyeuse Entrée. On leaving the
church, some young people put on tricolor cockades, and this badge was
soon common in the streets. Things went from bad to worse, and on May
18, 1789, Brussels was on the brink of revolution.

An immense crowd filled the Grande Place, where the States were
sitting in the Hôtel de Ville to consider an ultimatum which had come
from Vienna, demanding supplies and the suppression of the Council of
Brabant. The States refused the supplies, and directed the Council to
sit _en permanence_. The Emperor's Minister, Count Trauttmansdorff,
by turns implored and threatened. 'Your resistance,' he told them,
'will ruin you.' 'The Emperor,' they replied, 'may destroy us, but
he cannot coerce our consciences or our honour.' Troops were then
marched into the Grande Place. A squadron of dragoons were drawn up
between the Brodhuis and the Hôtel de Ville, and the States were
informed that the Joyeuse Entrée of Brabant was suppressed. On this the
Marquis de Prud'homme d'Aillay rose, and said to the Minister: 'Since
there is nothing more for us to do here, I am, sir, your very humble
servant,' and left the Hôtel de Ville, followed by all the members
of the States. The news from Paris, where the clouds were gathering
dark round the head of his sister Marie Antoinette, might have made
Joseph II. pause; but, far away in Vienna, he made up his mind to go
on as he had begun. So the Revolution of Brabant gained force, and Van
der Noot was the popular idol, with all Brussels at his feet. On his
return from a tour of agitation in the provinces he was received with
royal honours: the Hôtel de Ville flung out its red hangings; and at
the doors of Ste. Gudule he was met by the canons, who waved incense
before him, and placed him on the Emperor's _prie-dieu_. He went to
the Monnaie, where 'La Mort de César' was performed, and the actor who
played Brutus declaimed--

  'Sur les débris du trône et de la tyranie,
  Du Belge indépendant s'élève le génie,'

on which all the spectators rose, waving their hats and
shouting 'Vive la liberté! Vive Van der Noot!' and the players crowned
the demagogue with laurels, and hailed him as 'the Lafayette of
Belgium.'

[Illustration: BRUSSELS

OLD houses in the Grande Place.]

The Revolution seemed complete when the provincial States throughout
the Austrian Netherlands proclaimed their independence, and summoned
a Congress of the United States of Belgium. But they needed men
of sterner stuff than any who could be found in the Flanders and
Brabant of that time; and the end was not long in coming. The extreme
clericals, led by Van der Noot, were opposed by the followers of
the advocate Vonck. Van der Noot had always relied on the hope of
foreign intervention. Vonck wished the Belgians to work out their
own salvation. Van der Noot and the Church party were obstinately
conservative. Vonck and his party wished to see the expulsion of the
Hapsburgs followed by measures of reform. The Vonckists had the worst
of the quarrel, for the masses were against them, and showed their
sentiments in a way which those who know Brussels will understand.[40]
But the leaders of the other party lacked the ability to make head
against the Austrian troops which marched into Brabant. The volunteer
army of the Catholic Netherlands, deserted by its Prussian commander,
General Schönfeldt, was disbanded; and so the Brabant Revolution came
to naught.

Joseph II. died before the end, and in the midst of all his troubles.
He had yielded much. The seminary at Louvain was closed, and the
Joyeuse Entrée was restored. But these concessions came too late, and,
on February 20, 1790, this Sovereign of good intentions passed away,
while whispering in the ear of the Prince de Ligne, 'Your country has
been my death.'

His brother Leopold reigned in his stead. The Austrians entered
Brussels on December 2, 1790; and a week later the Ministers of
Austria, Great Britain, Russia, and Holland signed the Convention of
the Hague, which confirmed to the people of the Catholic Netherlands
all the rights and privileges which they had enjoyed under the Empress
Maria Theresa. But now the curtain was about to rise on a new scene in
the history of Brabant and Flanders.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 38: 'On se mit à exhumer et à méditer les textes de nos
anciens priviléges. Nobles, clergé, savants, femmes, gens du peuple,
tout le monde parla _joyeuse-entrée_' (De Gerlache, i. 331).]

[Footnote 39: Wauters, ii. 321.]

[Footnote 40: 'On donnait au Manneken'--the curious little statue in
the Rue du Chêne--'un uniforme de volontaire, et chaque quartier de la
Ville avait son arbre de la liberté chargé d'allégories patriotiques ou
anti-Vonckistes' (Wauters, ii. 393).]



CHAPTER XVI

THE JACOBINS OF BRUSSELS--VISIT OF NAPOLEON--THE HUNDRED DAYS


'C'est la Belgique,' said Danton, 'qui comblera le déficit de la
Révolution.' The Convention at Paris saw in the riches of the Austrian
Netherlands a means of filling its treasury, and supporting the failing
credit of France; and its emissaries knew how to work upon the people
of Brabant and Flanders. 'Nous avons évangélisé partout,' was the
report sent to Paris by one of them, 'in the streets, in the clubs,
in the drinking-shops, in the theatres.... We have covered the walls
with placards, and made the highways resound with our hymns of liberty.
We have dallied with their fanaticism, and tried to stir up the lower
ranks of the clergy against the higher, and so kill priestcraft by
priestcraft.'

Meantime the army of the Republic had been at work, and on the field of
Fleurus Jourdan completed the conquest which Dumouriez had begun at
Jemappes.

Dumouriez, who understood the character of the people he was dealing
with, was all for conciliation. He did not wish to bring the Jacobins
of Paris to Brussels, and raise up men like Chabot and Marat. He
proclaimed that the French came as friends and brothers, and promised
to secure the independence of the country. Above all things, he wanted
to conciliate the Church. But most of the Revolutionists sneered at the
Catholicism of the Austrian Netherlands. 'What a pity,' said Camille
Desmoulins, 'that the priests spoil the Belgians so much. One cannot
but wonder at the way in which these people, while wishing to preserve
their liberty, try also to preserve the cowls of their monks;' and
Marat, who had no patience with the moderation of Dumouriez, declared
that nothing would come of the war 'till a true _sans-culotte_ commands
our army.' So after Fleurus the Austrian Netherlands were made part of
France.

The moderate democrats of Brabant had been swamped in the early days
of the French Revolution by the extreme men who corresponded with the
Jacobins at Paris; and some strange scenes had taken place in the
venerable Grande Place of Brussels. A Tree of Liberty was set up
there, round which men, women, and children danced the carmagnole; and
a mob went up to the Place Royale chanting the '_Ça ira_' and roaring
out the 'Marseillaise,' fastened ropes to the statue of Charles of
Lorraine and pulled it down. And it must have been a curious sight when
Dumouriez gave receptions of an evening, and artisans rubbed shoulders
with men like the Duc d'Ursel and the Duc d'Arenberg, who at first,
like others of the noblesse, mingled with the red-caps and joined the
Jacobin clubs, which seem to have been quite the fashion.

Ridiculous things were done at the meetings of the Jacobin clubs.
The advocate Charles burns his diploma, and says he wants no title
but _sans-culotte_, and then goes on to propose that the names of
all the squares and streets of Brussels be changed. There should, he
told his friends, be Places d'Athènes, de Rome, de France, and Rues
de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, de Brutus, de Voltaire, de l'Opinion, de la
Philosophie, du Divorce.

One wiseacre demands that the ancient constitution of Brabant be burned
on the following Sunday during the ceremony of 'The Benediction of the
Flag of the _sans-culottes_.' 'Let the bust of Van der Noot be also
burned,' he added; on which another statesman rises, and exclaims: 'Je
demande, moi, qu'on promène le Manneken de Van der Noot avec celui de
la Pinaud, sa bonne amie.' Clearly the _sans-culotte_ of Brussels was
a mere tinsel imitation of the genuine article at Paris. At Paris all
was tragedy; Brussels amused itself with a burlesque. But as time went
on, and it dawned upon these would-be Jacobins and _sans-culottes_
that the Revolution meant fighting in the armies of France, and that
everything in Church and State was to be turned upside-down, they
began to lose their tempers, and long before October, 1795, when the
formal incorporation with France took place, they were quite tired of
masquerading as Jacobins.

Five years later they were as weary of the Directory as they had been
of the Convention; but when, in 1803, Napoleon came to Brussels, he
was well received. There was, however, a good deal of sham enthusiasm
on that occasion, and his most successful visit was in 1811, when
he brought the Empress Marie Louise with him. Brussels then showed
that, in spite of the Brabant Revolution, the House of Austria had a
strong hold on the affections of the citizens. 'Voilà Marie Louise
d'Autriche!' was heard in the streets. The town gave fêtes in her
honour; and one evening, when the Empress was at the Monnaie, and had
brought with her a bouquet of tulips from Harlem, which fell over the
edge of her box, gentlemen ran from all parts of the theatre and picked
up the fragments, which they made into button-holes. 'L'Impératrice
parut charmée de cette galanterie Bruxelloise,' says the local account
of this incident.

Napoleon was at Laeken with Marie Louise when the campaign in Russia
was resolved on. The story goes that on receiving the news that the
Tsar refused to carry out the Continental System, he began at once to
whistle the air of 'Marlborough s'en va-t-en guerre,' and ran out into
the grounds of the palace in such a rage that he nearly knocked the
Empress down. It was at Laeken that the fatal declaration of war was
signed.

As soon as the Allies entered the Netherlands after the French reverses
of 1812 and 1813, they were made welcome. Between four and five o'clock
on the evening of February 1, 1814, the French rearguard left Brussels;
and about an hour later the first Cossacks, a party of half a dozen,
rode in by the Porte de Louvain, passed quickly through the city, and
went on after the French army. These scouts were followed by a large
force of cavalry and infantry. The Prussian infantry found billets, and
the Cossacks lay down and slept beside their horses on the snow in the
Rue des Fripiers,[41] the townsfolk standing near, and wondering at
their strange dress and language. Soon the town was full of soldiers,
some of whom remained there, while others pressed on to France.

The news that Paris had capitulated reached Brussels on March 3. The
bells were rung, cannon were fired, and the houses were illuminated.
Then, one after another, the towns which still held out surrendered.
Carnot alone, who was in command of Antwerp, gave no sign of yielding;
but in the middle of April, while the last arrangements were being made
for the departure of Napoleon to Elba, he pulled down the tricolor, and
the great stronghold on the Scheldt fell, with the rest of Belgium,
into the hands of the Allies.

It was almost a fixed rule of international politics in Europe, when
some great war was finished and some treaty of peace was on the
boards, that people should ask each other what was to be done next with
the Catholic Netherlands. The rich inheritance of the House of Burgundy
was passed from hand to hand by Austrians, Spaniards, and Frenchmen,
without any statesman ever considering what might be the wishes of the
inhabitants; and now, in 1814, the Great Powers, at first in secret,
resolved to set up a new State, consisting of Holland and Belgium
united, and call it the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with William of
Orange-Nassau on the throne. He came to Brussels in July, 1814, not yet
as King, for the Congress of Vienna was to settle the map of Europe and
parcel out the spoils, but as Governor on behalf of the Allies; and
at the end of the year his son, the Prince Royal, took command of the
allied army in Belgium.

They had a gay time in Brussels during that winter of 1814-15, as
everyone knows. But on March 1 the Great Man landed in France; and a
fortnight later the Orange flag was hoisted in Brussels, and the new
King announced that he had not intended to assume the royal authority
till the work of the Congress at Vienna was finished, and all their
decisions could be executed together, but that the recent event in
France had made him resolve to wait no longer.

On April 5 the Duke of Wellington came post-haste from Vienna, and went
to live in a house next door to the Hôtel de France, at the corner of
the Rue de la Montagne du Pare and the Rue Royale.

And now during these wonderful Hundred Days, about which so much
has been written, the eyes of all Europe were fixed on Paris and
Brussels. But there were some good folk living at Ghent, who considered
themselves as the most important people in the world, as well they
might, considering what pains were being taken, and what oceans of
blood were to be shed, in order to make it safe for them to depart from
East Flanders and go back again to France, whence they had lately fled
in a great hurry.

Louis XVIII. was lying on a sofa at the Tuileries, suffering
excruciating agonies from the gout, when a despatch was brought to him
with the news that Napoleon had been in France for the last five days,
and was at that moment on the road to Paris. Instantly preparations
were made for flight, with as much secrecy as they had been made for
that terrible trip in the _Berline_ on which another Bourbon had set
out so many years before. Everything was kept quiet, and no one whom
it was possible to hoodwink was trusted. On the night fixed for the
departure one of the Ministers was at the palace. The King gave him
no hint; but as he was leaving the captain of the guard whispered:
'We're off in an hour; the relays are ordered; meet us at Lille.' They
started, and had a most uncomfortable journey. It was pouring rain.
The roads were deep in mud. The royal portmanteau was stolen with all
the royal wardrobe. The royal gout was most painful; and at Lille the
garrison was sullen. There were tricolor badges on all sides. Eagles
were pulled out of knapsacks, and the fleur-de-lis was nowhere to be
seen. This was evidently no place to stay at long; and so the King
crossed the frontier and made for Ghent, where he had been offered a
home in the splendid mansion of the Comte d'Hane-Steenhuyse.[42] He
remained there comfortably until after the Battle of Waterloo.

People who came to Brussels in the first week of June were surprised
to find how peaceful the town was, and how gay. Everyone has read the
narratives of what went on, and the story has been told over and over
again, and nowhere better than in _Vanity Fair_, which is history in
disguise in the chapters where Amelia invades the Low Countries. On
June 14 Napoleon, having crossed the frontier, was at Charleroi, on the
road to Brussels, and all Brussels was talking about the dance which
the Duke and Duchess of Richmond were giving next day at their house
in the Rue de la Blanchisserie, in the ballroom with the paper of 'a
trellis pattern with roses.'[43]

It was a strange night in Brussels, that night of June 15, 1815. By
eight o'clock the Duke has given orders for the troops to march at
daybreak, for he knows that Napoleon has crossed the frontier. Then he
goes to the ball to wait for another despatch. At eleven o'clock, when
the dancing is in full swing, the message reaches him. He hastens the
march by two hours, and the bugles begin to sound all over the town.
'One could hear,' says General Brialmont, 'in the ballroom the rolling
of cannon and the steady tramp of the regiments marching towards the
forest of Soignies.' The Duke is in bed and asleep by two o'clock; but
many of his officers dance on till it is time to rush off to their
regiments.

It would be useless to repeat the story of the next three days. It has
been told a hundred times. The clear, refreshing dawn; the soldiers
gathering from their billets; the partings; the regiments marching off,
the Black Watch and the 92nd Highlanders with the bagpipes playing
before them, through the park and the Place Royale, and passing away
up the Rue de Namur and along the road beyond, to where the soft light
of early morning is beginning to shine among the glades of Soignies;
the sound of heavy firing on the 16th; the silence on the 17th, with
the news that Blucher has lost the day at Ligny, and that Wellington
is falling back from Quatre Bras; the carts and material of the army
moving slowly up the Rue de Namur all day long; the awful suspense of
the 18th, when no one can rest.

'We walked about nearly all the morning,' says Lady de Ros, 'being
unable to sit still, hearing the firing, and not knowing what was
happening.' About three o'clock the observant Mr. Creevy went for a
stroll beyond the ramparts. 'I walked about two miles out of the
town,' he writes, 'towards the army, and a most curious, busy scene it
was, with every kind of thing upon the road, the Sunday population of
Brussels being all out in the suburbs of the Porte Namur, sitting about
tables drinking beer and making merry, as if races or other sports were
going on, instead of the great pitched battle which was then fighting.'
It was an hour or so after this that the Cumberland Hussars came
galloping through the Porte de Namur, down the street and across the
Place Royale, shouting that the French were coming, and raised such a
panic. It was not till late at night that the truth was known.

And at Ghent? They had got on there very well on the whole. The gout
was troublesome, but Louis XVIII. had the enormous appetite of the
Bourbons, and ate a great deal. The Comte d'Hane gave a big dinner
one day, at which the King managed to consume a hundred oysters for
dessert. Some of the courtiers used to go to a tavern in the suburbs
and eat a small white fish, a dainty much esteemed at Ghent, which was
caught in the river there. Chateaubriand, who was one of this Court
in exile, was at a dinner where they sat at table from one o'clock
till eight. 'They began,' he says, 'with sweets and finished with
cutlets. The French alone know how to dine with method.' They played
whist, and went to the theatre. Catalani sang for them at concerts, and
also in private to please the King. When the royal gout allowed it, the
King went to Mass at the Church of St. Bavon. But during the last three
days His Majesty was very nervous, and kept his carriage secretly ready
for another flight.

[Illustration: BRUSSELS

RUE de Namur.]

On the 18th, Chateaubriand was taking a walk outside the town near the
Brussels gate, when a courier from Alost rode up with a despatch from
the Duc de Berri. 'Bonaparte,' it said, 'entered Brussels yesterday,
17 June, after a bloody battle. The battle was to begin again to-day.
The Allies are said to have been completely defeated, and the order for
retreat given.' All Ghent was in dismay. The Comte d'Artois arrived
and confirmed the bad news. Many Belgians who had been in the French
army immediately started to take service once more under Napoleon.
Preparations were made for starting at once; but at one o'clock next
morning a despatch came with the news of the victory. On June 22 the
King left Ghent, to mount once more the throne which had been retained
for him at such a cost.

The scene of the great battle is wonderfully little changed since
then. The level of the ground at the centre of the ridge occupied by
the Allies has been lowered by the removal of earth to make the Mound
of the Belgian Lion; the tree under which the Duke of Wellington and
his staff stood at intervals during the day is gone long since; a
tramway runs past the farm of La Haye Sainte towards Quatre Bras and
Charleroi; and a number of houses have been built on the road between
Waterloo and Mont St. Jean. But the general aspect of the fields on
which the fight took place remains the same. Down to the right, looking
from Mont St. Jean, the château of Hougoumont, half destroyed by shot
and fire, still remains as it was left after the battle, with its
orchard walls and tall, dark trees. The farmhouse of La Haye Sainte,
that scene of carnage, is still where it was, at the side of the road
which leads down the incline, and then up from the narrow valley to La
Belle Alliance, near which is now the monument of the Wounded Eagle, a
memorial to the last combatants of the army which fought and lost with
such matchless valour. Every yard of the ground is sacred. There is,
in all the world, no spot where a Briton and a Frenchman can meet with
more profound emotions of mutual respect than on the slopes near Mont
St. Jean.

[Illustration: WATERLOO

THE farm of La Belle Alliance and the mound surmounted by the Belgian
lion.]


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 41: The street which leads from the Place de la Monnaie
towards the Bourse.]

[Footnote 42: This fine house is now No. 63, Rue des Champs, the
residence of the Comte de Bouisies, who married the daughter of Madame
Borluut, a direct descendant of the Comte d'Hane of 1815.]

[Footnote 43: _Reminiscences of Lady de Ros_ (Lady Georgina Lennox).]



CHAPTER XVII

THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT--THE REVOLUTION OF 1830


One day, soon after the Battle of Waterloo, the Tsar Alexander was at
La Belle Alliance with William, King of the Netherlands, and his son
the Prince of Orange. He asked for a glass of wine, and drank to '_la
belle alliance_, not only of nations, but of families.'

The marriage of the Grand Duchess Anna Paulowna to the Prince of Orange
had just been settled; and all the Courts of Europe believed that the
troublesome question of the Low Countries was at last finally solved by
the union of Holland and Belgium under the dynasty of Nassau, now to be
allied by marriage with one of the Great Powers which had placed it on
the throne of the new Kingdom.

The English Government had arranged that the Prince of Orange,
heir to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, should marry the Princess
Charlotte, heiress to the throne of England; and their engagement had
been announced to the States-General at The Hague in March, 1814. But
this plan had fallen through from the causes with which everyone is
familiar--the objections of the Princess Charlotte, who did not wish
to leave England, and liked the Prince less the more she saw of him;
her fancy for the impecunious Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, whom
she afterwards married; and the intrigues of the Grand Duchess of
Oldenburgh to break off the match, in order to bring about a marriage
between her sister, the Grand Duchess Anna Paulowna and the Prince of
Orange.

The Prince was accordingly married to the Grand Duchess. His
character--careless, pleasure-loving, and extravagant--made him very
popular in Brussels, and he spent as much as possible of his time in
his palace there, or at the château of Tervueren. He preferred the
Belgians to his countrymen the Dutch, whose grave ways did not suit
him. Soon after his marriage he sent a secret message to the Duke
of Wellington, under whom he had served in the Peninsular War and
during the Hundred Days, asking for the Duke's influence to obtain
leave to fix his Court at Brussels. Wellington refused to interfere
in a domestic question, and, in reply to the Prince's suggestion
that his presence in Brussels might help to check discontent amongst
the Belgians, said that he doubted the statements as to Belgian
disaffection, _as many persons, and even nations, were interested in
breaking the union of Holland and Belgium_.

The King and Queen of the Netherlands had the greatest difficulty in
persuading the Prince to visit them in Holland. The Communal Council of
Brussels waited on them at The Hague with an address of congratulation
on their accession. 'I don't know,' said the Queen, 'what you do to
keep my son at Brussels; but he is so fond of you that we hardly
ever see him here.' It would have been better for the stability of
his throne if the King had spent more of his own time in Brussels,
for signs of that discontent about which the Prince had written to
Wellington soon began to appear, and he might, perhaps, have taken
warning before it was too late, if he had known the truth.

Like Joseph II., William came to the throne full of good intentions;
like him, he alienated the clergy at the outset; and, like him, he
tried to give the Catholic Netherlands a liberal Constitution on his
own terms. His aim was to make them free and happy, but 'Alone I did
it' must be written over all. His character was a combination of sage
ideas and Dutch obstinacy; and one great root of bitterness between him
and the clergy was that never-ending question of education, over which
parties are fighting in Belgium at the present day. It was not that he
wished to make the southern provinces Protestant. But he was bent on
raising the intellectual standard of the country; and for this purpose
he founded, amongst other institutions, the Collège Philosophique at
Louvain, where the young priests were to receive a thorough education
in accordance with the spirit of the time--a scheme which the Church
resisted as it had resisted the Séminaire Générale of Joseph II., and
with equal success.

In a variety of ways the King alienated the people as well as the
priests. Though the States-General met alternately at The Hague and at
Brussels, all the great departments of the executive were in Holland.
They would, indeed, have been safest there in the event of a war;
but it was made a grievance that some of them were not at Brussels,
Antwerp, or Ghent. Most of the officials were Dutch, which was said
to prove a wish for Hollander supremacy, though the Dutch were a
minority of the population of the United Kingdom. The press attacked
the Government, and was severely punished under a system of decrees
emanating from the personal authority of the King. The use of Dutch as
the official language was enforced against the wishes of the majority.
Dutch methods of taxation were extended to Belgium, and trouble was
caused by the fact that Holland was for Free Trade and Belgium for
Protection. And of course the southern provinces were Catholic and
the northern Protestant, which more than anything else kept them on
bad terms. At last the impression became universal that the King's
policy was to sacrifice the interests of the Belgian provinces to
those of Holland; and the result was that the two great parties, or
schools of thought, which had always bitterly opposed each other, the
Catholics and the Liberals, united to oppose the Government.[44] This
was in 1829. Next year the Paris revolt of July, which drove out
Charles X., and put Louis Philippe on the throne of France, taught the
Belgians how easy it might be to get rid of a ruler with whom they
were discontented; and when the news from Paris came to Brussels, the
streets and cafés were full of men reading the papers, and saying to
each other, 'That's the way to revolt! Long live the barricades! Long
live the people!'

The days passed on in Brussels, with the restlessness of the population
increasing. The King's birthday was August 24, and preparations had
been made for celebrating it with unusual brilliancy. The park was to
be illuminated, and there were to be fireworks at the Porte de Namur.
But the people of Brussels, in that summer of 1830, were not to be
pacified by fêtes. Placards were found posted on the walls with the
ominous words: 'Le 23, Feu d'artifice; le 24, Illuminations; le 25,
Révolution.' Warnings, too, reached the Procureur du Roi that mischief
was brewing; and the festivities were abandoned, the reason being given
that bad weather was expected!

On the evening of the 25th Auber's 'Muette de Portici' was to be played
at the Monnaie. This opera had been more than once forbidden lest it
should cause disturbances; but now permission had been granted to
perform it, and the theatre was full. Every song of revolt was cheered,
and the climax came with the words of the duet in Act 4:

  'Amour sacré de la Patrié,
  Rends-nous l'audace et la fierté?'

The audience rose and rushed out into the Place de la Monnaie, inflamed
by the songs they had just heard, and shouting, 'Liberty! liberty!'
Then the mob gathered and rioting began. The old flag of Brabant was
hoisted on the Hôtel de Ville, and the town was in an uproar for the
next two days.

Orders were sent from The Hague to put down the 'rising' by force,
and Dutch troops under the command of Prince Frederick, the King's
second son, marched on Brussels. For nearly a month threats, promises,
negotiations were tried. But the insurgents refused to yield. Paid
agitators went about among the people; men of high standing took the
lead in organizing the revolt; barricades were erected; volunteers
came in from all parts; the Bishops pulled the strings behind the
scenes, and the country clergymen instigated their parishioners to
rebellion; the whole of Flanders and Brabant was soon up in arms, and
on September 23 the Dutch advanced to attack Brussels.

Three days of desperate fighting in the streets followed. The Dutch
held the park in force, but could not penetrate into the Place Royale,
which was defended by a strong barricade. Every house in the Rue Royale
was full of insurgents, who fired from the windows on the Dutch. In
other parts of the city there was the same stubborn resistance. For
three days the struggle continued. At sunset the firing ceased, and
the working men in their blouses sat drinking and boasting of their
exploits in the cafés, while their leaders met at the Hôtel de Ville
and took counsel for the morrow, and the Dutch bivouacked in the park
and on the boulevards. Each morning at dawn the tocsin sounded from
Ste. Gudule, and the people rushed to the barricades.

At daybreak on September 27 all was quiet when a small party of the
insurgents stole into the park, and went forward under cover of the
trees. They found it empty. The night had been very dark, and in the
small hours the Dutch had left in silence, and were now marching away
from Brussels.

It was a day of brilliant sunshine, and while the bourdon was sounding
from the towers of Ste. Gudule, and horsemen were riding out into the
country with the news, the populace flocked to the Palace. The men of
the blouse, their hands and faces black with gunpowder, merchants,
priests, lawyers, well-dressed ladies and ragged harridans, boys and
girls, young and old, went in, pushing, laughing, singing. They did
little damage, but hacked and cut the portraits of the King--the poor
King who had meant so well by his kingdom. The Queen's private rooms
were examined, and her wardrobes opened. One lad found a rich dress, 'a
magnificent robe of ceremony--white velvet embroidered with gold.' He
pulled it out, put it on, and over it a mantle of orange colour. With a
hat '_a là_ Marie Stuart' on his head, he sallied out. The mob, crying,
'The Queen is prisoner!' surrounded him with shouts of laughter, and
then tore off the finery and trailed it in the dust. A marble bust of
the King was brought out. They put a crown of Dutch cheese upon it,
and carried it about with cries of 'Down with the first and last King
of the Netherlands!' Many lives had been lost during the fighting;
but this was Brussels. It was all very different from Paris and the
downfall of Louis and Marie Antoinette.

The chief work of the Congress of Vienna was undone; and King William
instructed Baron Falck, his Ambassador at the Court of St. James's, to
ask for intervention on his behalf. The British Government replied that
troops could not be sent; that the Five Great Powers were to meet in
London; and that the policy of Great Britain would be to prevent the
troubles in the Netherlands leading to a breach of the peace in Europe.

How the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria,
and Prussia met in conclave on the weary question of the Low Countries;
how this Conference of London recognized the independence of the
Catholic Netherlands, defined their boundaries, and made them neutral;
how at the same time a National Congress at Brussels declared that the
House of Nassau had forfeited the throne, chose as the first King of
independent Belgium Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, and framed, under
the influence of Lamennais and his disciples, a Constitution whose
democratic principles breathe the spirit of the Joyeuse Entrée of
Brabant, are events which form a part of the general history of modern
Europe.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 44: The question of tariffs was one bond of union. At a
political dinner on July 9, 1829, when the toast of the union of
Catholics and Liberals was given, one of several maxims on the walls
was: 'Notre industrie, agricole et manufacturière, a besoin d'un
système de protection sagement pondéré; sans cette protection, le
travail étranger viendrait prendre bientôt sur notre marchéla place du
travail national' (C. Rodenbach: _Épisodes de la Révolution dans les
Flandres_, p. 82).]



CHAPTER XVIII

THE VICISSITUDES OF ANTWERP


When Napoleon was at Antwerp in 1803, he spoke to the Communal Council
about the miserable condition of the place. 'It is little better,'
he said, 'than a heap of ruins. It is scarcely like a European city.
I could almost have believed myself this morning in some African
township. Everything needs to be made--harbours, quays, docks; and
everything shall be made, for Antwerp must avail itself of the immense
advantages of its central position between the North and the South, and
of its magnificent and deep river.'

Antwerp was indeed a pitiable sight. Its trade had sunk to nothing.
Rows of squalid houses, with wooden gables 300 years old, looked down
upon canals choked up with slime and filth. The wharves on the banks
of the noble River Scheldt were mere heaps of rotten timber. Half the
churches, from which the stained glass and rich ornaments of former
days had long since departed, were closed. Grass was growing in the
deserted streets; and the walls of this desolate city contained a
population which numbered only some 40,000 souls. Such in the beginning
of the nineteenth century was the state of Antwerp, which had once been
the centre of European commerce and the greatest seaport in the world.

[Illustration: ANTWERP

THE Cathedral--Chapel of St. Joseph.]

The position of Antwerp, close to the estuary of the mighty stream
which brought it within reach of the markets, not only of Flanders, but
of every part of the world which could be reached by water, had made it
from an early period one of the chief cities of Brabant. But for a long
time Bruges and Ghent, after their formidable rival Ypres had sunk into
insignificance, absorbed most of the commerce of the Netherlands. These
splendid cities fell; the commerce which had made them great found its
way to Antwerp; and by the middle of the sixteenth century, when the
waters of Zwijn, which had carried so many costly bales to Bruges, were
drying up, the broad expanse of the Scheldt was covered by innumerable
ships threading their way up to where the merchant princes of Italy,
Germany, and England had established themselves, in a city which
was now greater than even Venice or Genoa. Every week 2,000 waggons
heavily laden entered Antwerp. Silk, satin, velvet, and tapestry;
gold, silver, and precious stones; spices and sugar from Portugal and
Spain, now enriched by their conquest of the Indies; wines from France
and Germany--all found their way to Antwerp. The manufactures of the
Flemish towns were sent down the highway of the Scheldt to the most
distant parts of the world; but England, Spain, and Portugal were the
countries to which most of the cargoes were exported, and these were
so rich that on one occasion the contents of thirteen ships taken by
pirates were valued at 500,000 _écus d'or_.[45]

Already, under the Dukes of Brabant and Burgundy, the city had grown
far beyond its original limits; but the wealth, the magnificence, and
the vastly increased population which the remarkable prosperity of the
sixteenth century brought with it, led Charles V. to issue a decree
that the walls must be extended, and the boundaries now became those
which enclosed it until recent times.

The Cathedral Church of Notre Dame, still the glory of Antwerp, was the
largest and the richest ecclesiastical building in the Netherlands.
Not far from the Cathedral was the Vleechhuis, now known as the
Vieille Boucherie, a solid building of red brick relieved by courses
of white stone, with five hexagonal turrets, erected by the Guild of
Butchers, the interior of which was in those days ornamented with
elaborate carvings, paintings, and marble statues. It is now surrounded
by mean houses in the most squalid part of the town; but its massive
appearance, even in decay, gives an idea of the power and wealth of
what was not the most powerful nor the wealthiest of the guilds.

In the Grande Place, as in the Grande Place of Brussels, were other
guild houses, distinguished by their quaint gables and towering
façades, each the home of some great corporation. There, too, was
the Hôtel de Ville, built of marble, and called 'the wonder of the
world,' lately erected to take the place of an earlier structure
which was no longer considered worthy of the Antwerp which, having
dethroned her rival Bruges, was now called by her proud inhabitants the
'Queen of the North.' In all parts of this opulent city bankers and
merchants--Fuggers, Greshams, Stettens, Spinolas, and many more--had
built for themselves luxurious houses, and met daily at the Bourse,
where more business was done than anywhere else in Europe.

[Illustration: ANTWERP

THE Vieille Boucherie.]

But within a period of ten years two events took place, the first of
which destroyed the internal beauty of the Cathedral, and the second of
which began the downfall of the commercial prosperity of the city.

In 1566 the yearly Ommegang was fixed for Sunday, August 18. Those
who have seen the crowds which, in our own time, gather in the towns
of Belgium when the streets are perambulated by the processions which
still are so attractive to the people of the Catholic Netherlands,
may form some conception of the intense hostility which was excited
in the hearts of the Reformers by the superstitious reverence paid to
the jewelled image of the Virgin, which was that day carried through
the streets of Antwerp. For the Inquisition had already been at work
for fifteen years, and thousands had already gone to the scaffold or
perished at the stake, and no man's life was safe who did not bow
the knee at the bidding of the gloomy despot who was persecuting the
country in the name of the Catholic Church. The image of the Virgin,
the gorgeous vestments of the priests, the ornaments of the churches,
the banners of the religious societies, the incense which filled
the air, nay, the very Host itself, were all so many symbols of
oppression. No wonder, then, that after the procession had returned
to the Cathedral the battle-cry of 'Long live the Beggars!' was like
a match applied to gunpowder, and that the fury of the common people
broke out. Seventy marble altars, among them an altar of the Holy
Sacrament which had been forty years in building, were destroyed. Three
organs, the finest in Christendom, were shattered into splinters.
The woodwork of the church, stalls, confessionals, pulpits, carved
chairs, were broken up. The statues of the saints were cast down. The
magnificent vessels of gold and silver, the richly embroidered robes
and banners, were trampled under foot. The beautifully tinted windows
were demolished. The image of the Virgin was torn to pieces. When the
work of Vandalism came to an end, it was wonderful that the building
itself had escaped destruction.

No blood was shed by the Protestants when they wrecked the Cathedral of
Antwerp, not even that of a single priest; no woman was insulted, nor
was any plunder carried away by the rioters.[46] But in ten years came
the orgy of robbery, murder, and rape known as 'The Spanish Fury.'

[Illustration: ANTWERP

OLD houses in the Rue de l'Empereur.]

The citadel, built by Alva to overawe the town, was occupied in 1576
by a garrison of Spaniards whose pay was in arrears, and who cast
longing eyes on the El Dorado lying ready to their hands. The defenders
were a body of Germans and Walloons who had just come from Brussels.
These were mercenaries and not to be depended on, and the burghers
themselves were not so hardy as of old. On the morning of November 4
the Spaniards, reinforced by a troop of mutineers from Alost, rushed
through a thick mist which hung over the marshes of the Scheldt,
and burst into the city. For three long days the streets ran blood.
Men, women, and children were put to the sword without mercy. Public
buildings and private dwellings were plundered. The whole town was
set on fire. Women were violated; there were cruel torturings; and
every possible crime was committed. Many were drowned in the river
while trying to escape. Piles of dead lay in the Grande Place. Of the
Hôtel de Ville, where the Burgomaster and most of the magistrates met
their death, nothing remained but the bare walls. The archives of the
city perished in the flames. Eight thousand corpses lay among the
smouldering ruins--for this massacre was more deadly than the massacre
of St. Bartholomew's Day. 'The city, which had been a world of wealth
and splendour, was changed into a charnel-house, and from that time
its commercial supremacy was blasted.'[47] Within four years of the
Spanish Fury almost the whole trade of Antwerp had been transferred to
Amsterdam, and the time of the final catastrophe was at hand.

The Pacification of Ghent, which bound all the provinces of the
Netherlands in a league against Spain, followed hard on the Spanish
Fury of Antwerp; but the northern and the southern provinces quickly
drifted apart, and in three years were rent in twain. The diplomacy
of the Prince of Parma was as fatal to the cause of freedom as the
fires of Alva. Holland stood firm and was saved in the long, weary
struggle. Belgium halted between two opinions, and was lost. Brussels,
the political capital, held out until it was starved into surrender;
Bruges capitulated; and most towns of note sooner or later were taken,
or made their peace humbly with Spain. But to obtain possession of
Antwerp was a matter of far greater importance than the fate of any
other town, and the siege, which Parma conducted with so much energy
and skill, was the most serious military operation during the contest
in the Netherlands. For Antwerp, though doomed to destruction by the
Spanish Fury and sinking rapidly, was still the commercial capital of
the Netherlands. 'Antwerp was the hinge on which the fate of the whole
country, perhaps of all Christendom, was to turn. "If we get Antwerp,"
said the Spanish soldiers--so frequently that the expression passed
into a proverb--"you shall go to Mass with us; if you save Antwerp,
we will all go to conventicle with you."'[48] The population was
large, about one hundred thousand. The Hôtel de Ville, the centre of
the civic life, had already been rebuilt; the city, in spite of its
frightful loss of trade, had not yet abandoned all hope of recovering
its position; and William the Silent, before his death in 1584, had
pointed out the means of defence--to destroy the dykes which kept the
Scheldt within its bed, and flood all the meadows round the city, so
as to prevent the Spaniards blockading the river by erecting a bridge,
which would bar the passage of the ships on which the city would--in
the event of a siege--depend for supplies of food. This advice was not
taken. The Guild of Butchers, whose flocks fed on the meadows which
it was proposed to flood, objected, met in the Vleechhuis, and sent a
deputation to the magistrates, who quailed before them. Other guilds,
together with most of the citizens, refused to believe that the Scheldt
could be bridged, and the magistrates decided not to follow the plan of
the Prince of Orange. Parma, therefore, was able to occupy the banks of
the river, and to build forts which threatened the town and protected
the army of workmen who were soon busily engaged in constructing the
bridge which was to close the channel. At the same time, while his own
position remained dry, the dykes at some distance had been opened, and
the plains for miles around were turned into a waste of shallow water.

[Illustration: ANTWERP

ARCHWAY under the Vieille Boucherie.]

The siege lasted for seven months. For some time food reached the
city in ships which succeeded in forcing their way up from Flushing
and past the Spaniards; but blockade-runners expect a big return for
their risks, and when the magistrates were so foolish as to put a limit
on the price of wheat, the supplies from outside came to an end. The
building of the bridge went on, slowly but surely. The weather was
cold and stormy. The river, in winter flood, made the task almost
impossible; but the Spaniards toiled on with wonderful patience and
courage, and at last, on February 25, 1585, their work was finished,
and the Scheldt was closed. The garrison made desperate efforts by
sallies, fire-ships--everything they could think of--to destroy Parma's
work, but all in vain. The citizens trembled at the prospect of a
famine. England and Holland were sending help; but stout hearts like
those which, a century later, maintained the defence of Londonderry
till the boom was broken, were not to be found in Antwerp. Negotiations
were opened, and, after a long time spent in discussing terms, the
capitulation was signed on August 17, 1585. The terms of the surrender
were not hard. An amnesty was granted, and the garrison received the
honours of war; but on one point Philip was inexorable--there must be
no liberty of conscience, no religion but that of Rome.

What this meant to Antwerp was soon apparent. The Reformation had many
disciples there.[49] They were called upon to choose between giving up
their religion or leaving the country. A period of two years was fixed,
during which the Protestant merchants and the Protestant workmen of
Antwerp, on whose business capacity and labour the prosperity of the
city depended, might leave their places of business and abandon their
homes; and in order that the rising generation should breathe, from
their earliest days, a purely orthodox atmosphere, Parma was instructed
to see that the selection of teachers was left in the hands of the
Jesuits, so that no Protestants should have a voice in the education of
the young. Antwerp suffered from this policy of intolerance in the same
way as, exactly one hundred years afterwards, France suffered from the
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The flower of the population left,
carrying with them what remained of their wealth and, a greater loss,
their skill and habits of industry. 'The poor city is most forlorn and
poverty-stricken, the heretics having all left it,' were Parma's own
words.[50]

[Illustration: ANTWERP

THE Concierge of the Musée Plantin-Moretus.]

The people of Antwerp might well have applied to themselves the words
used by Gerard Truchses of Cologne, when lamenting the supineness of
the German Princes during the death struggle against Rome and the
Escurial: 'We shall find our destruction in our immoderate desire for
peace.' Peace they had obtained, but a peace which brought them no
relief, and left them face to face with starvation; for Sidney--that
Sidney of whom tradition tells the well-known story of his cup of water
given to the wounded soldier--saw to it that not one bushel of wheat
was carried up the Scheldt past Flushing, which he held as Governor for
the Queen of England, to what was now a Spanish town.[51]

For twenty-four years the Scheldt was rigorously blocked by the fleets
of Holland; and the commerce of Antwerp, which Parma would fain have
restored, disappeared altogether. A gleam of hope came when, in 1609,
the Twelve Years' Truce was signed at Antwerp by the representatives of
the Archdukes Albert and Isabella and the States-General of Holland.
But the city had fallen so low that many years would scarcely have
sufficed to raise it; and whatever progress followed the truce came
to an end with the Treaty of Münster. The closing of the Scheldt had
become a political dogma with the Dutch; and the fourteenth article of
the treaty kept it closed against the trade of Brabant and Flanders, to
the great benefit of the seaports of Holland.[52]

About the year 1590, amongst the pupils at one of the schools
established by the Jesuits at Antwerp after the great siege, was a
boy whose parents had given him the Apostolic name of Peter Paul.
His father was Joannes Rubens, a distinguished lawyer, who had
been a magistrate of Antwerp at the time of the image-breaking in
the Cathedral, and whose name was in the list of persons suspected
of Calvinism. The Burgomaster and magistrates solemnly assured the
Government that he was above suspicion; but Rubens, who undoubtedly was
a Calvinist, fearing the Inquisition, left the city and went to Germany
with his wife. There he was involved in an intrigue with Anna, daughter
of the Elector Maurice, and second wife of William the Silent. Rubens
was sent to prison, and thereafter banished to Siegen, where his wife
joined him. The Princess, after being kept in close confinement for
some years, died in 1577. In that year, the year before the Spanish
Fury, and on June 28, being the Eve of the Festival of St. Peter and
St. Paul, was born the boy who afterwards became the famous painter.
Ten years after the birth of his son Joannes Rubens died at Cologne,
and his widow, returning to Antwerp, took up her abode in the house
where she had formerly lived with her husband, in the Place de Meir.
There young Rubens passed his schooldays. If the cupboards were bare
at Antwerp at that time, the confessionals were full, and the widow,
having abjured the errors of Calvinism, sent her son to the schools
which, ever since the surrender to Parma, had been in the hands of the
Catholic clergy.

When his education was finished he went to learn painting from Venius,
whose studio was then in a street called the Rue Sale,[53] because, it
is said, of its extreme dirtiness, and also from Van Noort, who taught
in the Rue du Jardin. Thereafter he travelled for eight years in Italy
and Spain, gaining friends and painting, always painting, and studying
art. News reached him that his mother was ill, and he hurried back to
Antwerp, but found on his arrival that she was already dead. Having
no longer any home ties, he was on the point of returning to Italy,
and Antwerp nearly lost him, when the Archdukes Albert and Isabella
persuaded him to remain. This was in 1608. Next year he married
Isabelle, daughter of Jean Brant, town clerk of Antwerp, and set up
house in the Rue du Couvent, where many of his best-known works were
painted.

He soon, however, built the mansion in which he lived for the rest of
his life, in what is now called the Rue Rubens,[54] to the south of the
Place de Meir. He drew the plans himself on the model of some palace
he had known in Italy, painted frescoes on the walls, and filled it
with curios he had collected during his travels. In his large garden
he put up a domed 'Pantheon,' where he arranged the paintings, antique
statues and busts, cameos, medals, vases of porphyry, and other
treasures which his friends in Italy sent him. His studio was a vast
room, from which the largest canvases were easily brought down by a
staircase which one of his biographers describes as like that of a
royal palace.

We know a great deal about his mode of life at Antwerp, and how he
was sent journeying on diplomatic errands by the Court of Albert and
Isabella to France, Spain, Holland, England, and everywhere received
with honour. At home, early in the morning (he rose at four in summer),
having already been to Mass, he is at work in his studio, and loves to
listen as he paints to some friend who will read to him from Cicero
or Plutarch, or, brush in hand, talks with endless vivacity to the
guests who have come to call on him. After a walk in his garden he
dines frugally and very soberly, for he dreads, we are told by Van
Hasselt, the effect of wine on his imagination; and then he works on in
his studio till late in the afternoon, when he mounts one of his fine
horses and rides till after sunset. In the evening he sups as frugally
as he dined, and finishes the day at home in a circle of his most
intimate friends, the only society for which he cared. This busy, happy
life of Antwerp's greatest citizen closed on May 30, 1640. The statue
in the Place Verte[55] was erected to commemorate the two-hundredth
anniversary of his death; but the fruit of his laborious days is the
best monument of his fame.

Close to the Place Verte is the Marché du Vendredi, where, in 1578,
Christopher Plantin, 'the Rubens of the printing-press,' set up his
works. The story of Plantin's life is a romance of labour. He was born
at Tours in 1514, of a wealthy family called Tercelain; but, his father
having lost his fortune, he changed his name to Plantin, and found
employment at Caen as a bookbinder. Having married there, he went to
Antwerp, and opened a small shop, in which he worked at his own
trade while his wife sold cloth. The story goes that one night during
the carnival he was wounded by some masqueraders, who mistook him for
another person. To hush up the affair they paid him a sum of money,
with which he bought a press and types, began to print almanacs and
books for children, and did this so well that he soon had a flourishing
business.

[Illustration: ANTWERP

THE Place Verte.]

The first important work produced at the Plantin Press was
'L'Instruction d'une Fille de Noble Maison,' a translation from the
Italian, which appeared in 1555. His reputation grew, and in thirteen
years he was able to purchase the site at the Marché du Vendredi.
His name, like that of Joannes Rubens, was on the list of suspected
Calvinists after the image-breaking, and his printing-house was
searched. But nothing was found to support the charge of heresy, and
his orthodoxy must have been established beyond doubt, for Philip not
only employed him to produce the famous Polyglot Bible, but gave him
the monopoly of printing missals and breviaries for the whole of the
Spanish Empire.

After his death in 1589, the business, which now had branches in
Paris, Leyden, and Frankfort, was carried on by his son-in-law,
Jean Mourentorff, whose family afterwards changed their name, in
accordance with the pedantic fashion of the day, to Moretus. The
Musée Plantin-Moretus, with the dwelling-rooms and their Renaissance
furniture; the type and presses of the sixteenth century; the old
proof-sheets, looking as if the printer's reader had just left them;
the tapestry and paintings; and the quaint courtyard with the aged
vine-tree, which traditions say was put there by Plantin himself--is
the place of all others where some idea may be formed of the family
life and surroundings of a wealthy business man in the Netherlands 300
years ago.

[Illustration: ANTWERP

THE Musée Plantin-Moretus (the Arrière Boutique).]

But though Rubens had painted and the firm of Plantin had printed and
grown rich, the Scheldt was all the time rolling down to the sea with
scarcely one sail upon it; and the shipping trade of Antwerp was still
at the mercy of the Dutch when the eighteenth century came in. The
Treaty of Utrecht gave the Catholic Netherlands to Austria, but did not
free the Scheldt. On the contrary, the stipulations of the Treaty of
Münster were confirmed; and when in 1785, a century since Parma took
Antwerp, Joseph II. demanded the opening of the great river, this same
Treaty of Münster was unrolled as a reply. Thus, when the French
Revolution came, and the army of the Republic took possession of the
Austrian Netherlands, the Scheldt had been blocked and the shipping
trade of Antwerp ruined for more than 200 years.

In November, 1792, the Convention declared the Scheldt a free river,
and ordered its Generals to carry out this declaration by force of arms
against the Dutch. Mr. Pitt was ready to remain neutral in the war
between France and Austria; but to this infringement of the Treaties
of Münster and Utrecht, which had given the exclusive navigation of
the Scheldt to the Dutch, he would not agree. Apart from the question
of treaty rights, that the coast-line from the Scheldt westwards, with
Antwerp at one end and Dunkirk at the other, and from the Scheldt
northwards to the Texel, should be in the hands of France suggested a
constant danger of invasion; to say nothing of possible injury to the
commerce of England from the restrictions which an unfriendly Power
might place on English trade with Antwerp, if Antwerp, as was certain,
became once more a great seaport when the Scheldt was free. England was
about to recognize the Republic when this question of Holland and the
Scheldt made war inevitable. Thus once more Antwerp was the hinge on
which the peace of Europe turned.

Though the Scheldt became a French river in 1797, after the Treaty
of Campo Formio, and though the Convention of The Hague had already
abolished the shipping dues, Antwerp had made no progress towards
recovery when Napoleon went there in 1803. He deepened the harbour,
strengthened the fortifications, expended immense sums on improving
the communications with Amsterdam and other places in the Netherlands,
and purposed making the great seaport opposite the mouth of the Thames
his chief naval station. He even planned the building of a new city.
England was equally aware of the value of Antwerp. The Walcheren
expedition, that costly failure,[56] was undertaken to strike a blow
at this vital spot; and the Conference of Chatillon, in 1814, broke
down because Napoleon would not relinquish Antwerp. He could not make
up his mind to let it go. Long afterwards he said: 'Antwerp was to
me a province in itself. It was the principal cause of my exile to
St. Helena; for it was the required cession of that fortress which
made me refuse the terms offered at Chatillon. If they would have
left it to me, peace would have been concluded.' And it was still in
his possession when the end came. Carnot was there--'iron Carnot,
far-planning, imperturbable'--and held the fortress till the Emperor
abdicated.

Trade revived with the creation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. By
1830 the population had increased to between 70,000 and 80,000. There
was a strong Orange party in the city during the Belgian Revolution,
for the Scheldt is to Antwerp what the Nile is to Egypt--its life; and
the union with Holland insured the freedom of the river.

Antwerp, however, suffered more at that time from the Dutch than
Brussels. General Chassé, an old soldier of the Empire, who had lived
there for some years, was in command of the troops in the citadel.[57]
He had under him between 2,000 and 3,000 men. The forts and ramparts
were armed with nearly 300 heavy guns, and in the Scheldt, close to
the town, were nine ships of war. An exchange of shots between some
of the Belgian insurgents and the Dutch was followed by a furious
bombardment. For seven hours the citadel, the forts on the other side
of the river, and the ships continued their fire. The houses shook
with the noise of the big guns and the rattle of musketry. The terror
and confusion were indescribable in the streets, which were lighted
up, after darkness fell, by the flames roaring from the Church of St.
Michael, which was burned to the ground. A great deal of damage was
done, but fortunately the ships were so close to the shore that their
shot passed over the housetops, otherwise the whole of Antwerp might
have been destroyed. The spire of the Cathedral was a conspicuous
object, rising high above the Place Verte in the most crowded part of
the town. The shells flew past it and over it, but only three did any
harm, one bringing down a turret, and two crashing through the roof and
bursting in the nave.

The wind carried the sound of the cannonade to Brussels, where, after
sunset, the people saw the sky glowing red in the east; and some
members of the Revolutionary Government were sent to Antwerp, who
arranged an armistice. The Dutch remained in possession of the
citadel; but this bombardment, which took place on October 27, 1830,
put an end to the last lingering hopes of a reconciliation between the
Belgian provinces and the House of Orange-Nassau.

[Illustration: ANTWERP

THE roadstead from the Tête de Flandre.]

Since 1830 the trade of Antwerp has increased enormously, and not very
long ago the Scheldt was so congested with shipping that no vessels
were allowed up unless they were regular liners, as there were no free
berths in the docks. This fact speaks for itself. Antwerp is now the
greatest port on the continent of Europe. In the world London stands
first, with New York second, but Antwerp comes third; and to meet
this huge trade three miles of additional quays are to be constructed
within the next few years. Last year the Burgomaster of the city said
that the mercantile marine of Great Britain was so pre-eminent there
that Antwerp was, 'from a commercial point of view, one of the most
important British ports in the world.' Germany and England, however,
are engaged in a struggle for supremacy. They are ahead of all rivals;
but the shipping companies of Hamburg and Bremen are the most powerful
in the city, and, although during the last twenty years British trade
has steadily increased at Antwerp, German trade has increased still
more, and seems to be rapidly overtaking that of England.

The presence in force of the German element on the banks of the Scheldt
is the most striking feature of modern Antwerp. An extraordinary hold
on its commerce and industries has been secured, as well as on the
social life of the city. The Chamber of Commerce is full of German
members. There is a German colony many thousands strong. There are
German clubs and schools, and numberless clerks from all parts of
Germany are to be found in business houses. These facts give some
colour to the prediction, so often heard, that the time is approaching
when Antwerp will be under the German Zollverein, and that this will
be the first step towards the realization of those ambitions which,
beginning with a commercial alliance with Holland and Belgium, are to
find their victory in the absorption of those countries, or, at least,
of Holland and Antwerp, in the German Empire. It is well known that the
Netherlands believe their independence to be in danger. The Belgian
Government purposes spending millions in extending the fortifications
of Antwerp. On all hands the durability of the settlement made by
the Conference of London in 1830-1831 is called in question.

Great interests are involved; and it is within the possibilities of the
future that Antwerp may be, yet once again, the hinge on which the
peace of Europe turns. The mouth of the Scheldt is still where it was
in the days of Napoleon--opposite the mouth of the Thames.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 45: Moke, p. 390 (3rd edition).]

[Footnote 46: See Motley, _Rise of the Dutch Republic_, part ii., chap.
ii., for the evidence as to this.]

[Footnote 47: Motley, _Rise of the Dutch Republic_, part iv., chap. vi.]

[Footnote 48: Motley, _History of the United Netherlands_, chap. v.]

[Footnote 49: 'Nulle part en Belgique les nouvelles croyances n'avaient
jeté des racines aussi profondes' (Moke, 426). The Rue de Tournai was
the quarter where most Calvinists were to be found. From the list of
suspected persons, drawn up in 1567, it would appear that barely half a
dozen families living there were free from the charge of heresy.--THYS:
_Historique des Rues et Places Publiques de la ville d'Anvers_, p.
77.]

[Footnote 50: 'In a very few years after the subjugation of Antwerp,
it appeared by statistical documents that nearly all the manufactures
of linen, coarse and fine cloths, serges, fustians, tapestry, gold
embroidery, arras-work, silks and velvets, had been transplanted to
the towns of Holland and Zeeland, which were flourishing and thriving,
while the Flemish and Brabantine cities were mere dens of thieves and
beggars.'--MOTLEY: _History of the United Netherlands_, Appendix to
chap. v.]

[Footnote 51: The Battle of Zutphen, at which Sir Philip Sidney
received the wound from which he died, was fought on October 2, 1586,
thirteen months after the surrender of Antwerp.]

[Footnote 52: The proper reading of Article XIV. of the Treaty of
Münster was disputed. See De Gerlache, i. 70. However, 'Quoi qu'il en
soit,' says Baron De Gerlache, 'l'Escant demeura fermé; les Hollandais
en tenaient les deux rives; le commerce d'Anvers et de la Belgique fut
ruiné par la faiblesse et la lâcheté de l'Espagne, et par la connivence
égoïste des autres puissances.']

[Footnote 53: Now the Rue Otto-Venius.]

[Footnote 54: Then the Rue de la Bascule, or 'Wapper,' a broad street
with a canal in the middle, filling up, apparently, the space between
the east side of the modern Rue Rubens and the west side of the modern
Rue Wappers. In 1611, when Rubens built his house, the canal which used
to run down the middle of the Place de Meir had been vaulted over for
some time.]

[Footnote 55: The churchyard of the Cathedral till 1784.]

[Footnote 56: Napoleon thought that the expedition was wisely
conceived, and that, if it had not been so foolishly executed, Antwerp
might have been taken by a _coup de main_. As to the tactics of the
English Generals, 'C'était le comble de la bêtise et de l'inhumanité,'
he said (O'Meara, _Napoleon at St. Helena_, i., 238).]

[Footnote 57: 'Il commandait depuis quelques anneés à Anvers, où ses
aventures amoureuses lui avaient donné une terrible réputation. C'était
une sorte de Lovelace en cheveux blancs, forte redouté des mères de
famille.'--DE LEUTRE, ii. 81.]



LIÉGE

AND THE ARDENNES



LIÉGE AND THE ARDENNES



CHAPTER XIX

THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIÉGE


The map of Belgium during the Middle Ages, and down to the period
of the French Revolution, shows the outlines of a large territory
lying to the south of Brabant. On the west it extends to the French
dominions; on the east are Germany and the Duchy of Limbourg; the Duchy
of Luxembourg bounds it on the south. This territory was known as the
Principality of Liége.

The aspect of this part of Belgium is entirely different from that of
the other provinces. The River Semois, rising near Arlon, the capital
of Belgian Luxembourg, flows through quiet meadows, a slow and placid
streamlet, bordered by rushes and willow-trees, till it reaches the
western extremity of the mountainous forests of Ardennes. There it
enters a narrow winding valley, thickly wooded, with rocky dells, and
banks so precipitous that in some places there is not even a footpath,
and travellers must pass from side to side in boats when making their
way along the margin of the stream. Emerging from this defile, it
crosses the French frontier, and joins the Meuse near Monthermé. From
thence the Meuse flows to the north till it enters Belgium a short
distance beyond the town of Givet.

The romantic valley of the Meuse stretches on for miles, past Hastière,
with its abbey of the eleventh century, peaceful Waulsort, in former
times a Benedictine settlement, but now a favourite summer resort,
and the picturesque château of Freyr, with its well-ordered gardens.
On either side are steep slopes clothed with trees, and broken here
and there by bold, outstanding pinnacles of rock. The sweet village
of Anseremme straggles along the road beside the river; and near it
the Lesse rushes down, between overhanging trees and towering cliffs,
to meet the Meuse. Then comes Dinant, nestling on the right bank of
the river, below the fortress which rises on the steep hillside. From
Dinant the Meuse winds on to where the Sambre joins it at Namur, and so
onwards to Liége and Maestricht.

[Illustration: THE CHÂTEAU DE WAULSORT ON THE MEUSE]

To the south of this valley of the Meuse, for mile after mile, a broad,
undulating tableland is covered by thick forests, where deer and wild
boars abound, or opens out into a wide rolling country, dotted
with villages, farm-houses, church spires, modern châteaux, and the
ruins of feudal strongholds perched on inaccessible rocks.

The appearance of this region has thus nothing in common with any
other part of Belgium, with the flat, densely populated plain which
extends southwards from the coast of Flanders. The people, too, are
different--of quite another type, and speaking, most of them, another
tongue. For this is the country of the Walloons, that hard-working
race whose aptitude for strenuous labour distinguishes them from the
light-hearted, easy-going people of Flanders and Brabant, and whose
language is a form of old French mingled with words derived from German
roots.

While, moreover, the old-time history of northern Belgium is the
history of great commercial cities, rolling in wealth and trading to
all parts of the world, with the merchant princes and the members of
the guilds for their great men, the history of these southern provinces
is the long story of how the Principality of Liége was evolved out of
the chaos of small lordships which existed in the sixth century, and
was governed, not by laymen, but by a dynasty of priests, who made war
and concluded alliances on equal terms with the surrounding princes.
It is a story of feudal barons, of the romance of chivalry, of terrible
deeds, of ferocious bandits, of bishops who led armies into the field
and shed blood like water, often for very trifling causes.

When, at the end of the fifteenth century, Belgium was the most
opulent country in Europe, the valley of the Meuse and the wide forest
of Ardennes remained a waste. When, under the house of Burgundy,
Flanders and Brabant flourished and grew rich, the Principality of
Liége was impoverished and steeped in misery. It remained separate and
independent, and has, therefore, a history of its own--the history
of a State governed by the clergy, the nobles, and the people; where
taxes could not be levied without the assent of these three estates;
where no man could be condemned except by the judges, and in accordance
with the laws; where such a thing as arbitrary arrest was unknown, at
least in theory; where the home of the poorest subject was inviolable;
but where, in spite of all these privileges, year after year saw one
revolution follow another, all the horrors of foreign and domestic war,
and innumerable acts of cruelty, oppression, and treachery.

[Illustration: CHÂTEAU DE WALZIN, IN THE LESSE VALLEY]

This state of things continued, with scarcely a pause, till the close
of the seventeenth century, after which the country, though exhausted,
prolonged its independence for another hundred years, till, with the
rest of Belgium, it was annexed to France, and broken up into several
departments. In later days, from the fall of Napoleon and the Congress
of Vienna down to the present time, it has shared the fortunes of the
modern kingdom of Belgium.

The whole story cannot be told within the compass of a few pages; but
enough may be set down to excite, perhaps, the interest of those who
may chance to travel in this part of Europe.



CHAPTER XX

EARLY HISTORY OF LIÉGE--BISHOP NOTGER--THE COURT OF PEACE


As to the town of Liége in early times, the story goes that one day
St. Monulphe, Bishop of Tongres, being on a journey from Maestricht to
Dinant, came to a rising ground, from which he saw a few wooden houses
nestling beneath a mountain which overlooked the Meuse. Descending, he
came to a streamlet which flowed into the river. He asked its name,
and was told that it was called the Legia. Then the Bishop said to his
companions that a great city, famous in the annals of the Christian
Church, would arise on that spot. He built a small chapel there, which
was replaced, in later years, by a splendid cathedral dedicated to St.
Lambert, and laid the foundations of the temporal power of the Bishops
of Liége by endowing the Church in the valley of the Meuse with lands
which he possessed in the neighbourhood of Dinant.

But at that time, and for many years to come, Liége was an unimportant
village inhabited by a few people; and it was not till the close of
the seventh century that it became the seat of a bishopric, which was
established there by St. Hubert about the year 697.

St. Hubert was a son of the Duke of Aquitaine. Leaving his native
country for political reasons, he took refuge at the Court of Pepin
d'Herstal, father of Charles Martel, and grandfather of Charlemagne.
Pepin's palace was then at Jupille, now a little town on the right bank
of the Meuse, some three miles from modern Liége, but in those days the
seat of a Court, and the favourite home of Pepin, who held royal sway
over all the surrounding country.

[Illustration: THE EPISCOPAL PALACE--OUTER COURT, LIÉGE]

The legend is well known of how Hubert was so devoted to the chase
that he used to hunt even on the festivals of the Church, and how his
conversion was brought about by seeing a stag one Good Friday with a
shining cross between its horns. More sober history attributes the
change of life which turned the mighty hunter into a priest to the
pious counsels of St. Lambert, Bishop of Maestricht, who persuaded him
to go on a pilgrimage to Rome, where he finally resolved to devote
himself to the cause of religion. He was at Rome when the news
came that Lambert had been murdered in revenge for having publicly
censured the evil life of Pepin's mistress Alpaïde. On hearing of this
tragedy the Pope made Hubert Bishop of Maestricht, and he removed the
bishopric to Liége, which grew, under his rule, from a mere village
into a large town surrounded by walls built on land given by Charles
Martel, afterwards famous as the great champion of Christendom at the
Battle of Tours, and son of that Alpaïde who was responsible for the
death of Lambert. Municipal laws and courts for the administration
of justice were established, and a regular system of government soon
followed. Bishop Hubert spent much of his time among the woods and
mountains, no longer as a hunter, but as a missionary; and the relics
of the patron saint of huntsmen, who died in May, 727, are still
preserved in a chapel at the town of St. Hubert, which lies in the
midst of a wide forest on the southern tableland of the Ardennes.

Liége prospered under the Emperor Charlemagne, who conferred important
privileges on the town, and enriched the bishops, who gradually
acquired that temporal power which they wielded for so long a time,
after the vast empire of Charlemagne had fallen to pieces during the
ninth century. The real founder of the temporal power of the bishop
princes of the Principality of Liége seems to have been Notger, who
was made Bishop by Otho the Great in the year 971. He strengthened
the walls of the town, and made it known that law and order must be
maintained within the diocese. But the great nobles had their feudal
castles, from which they sallied forth to plunder and oppress their
weaker neighbours, and close to Liége was the castle of Chèvremont.
This stronghold stood on a hill near the site of the modern
watering-place of Chaudfontaine, and was surrounded by the cottages
of the baron's vassals, and by several chapels and religious houses
founded by fugitives who had taken refuge there during the years of the
Norman invasion, when Liége, Maestricht, Tongres, and the rich abbeys
of Malmedy and Stavelot, had been laid waste.

When Notger came to the See of Liége, Immon, the châtelain of
Chèvremont, was the terror of the whole country for miles around. He
raided the villages, carried away the crops from the few cultivated
fields, and sometimes rode into the suburbs of Liége, made prisoners of
the inhabitants, and held them to ransom. The people implored Notger to
protect them, but for a long time he could find no means of subduing,
or making terms with, his formidable neighbour. At last, however, he
saw an opportunity. The lady of Chèvremont having given birth to a son,
her husband, being resolved that only some high dignitary of the Church
should have the honour of baptizing his heir, requested the Bishop of
Liége to perform the ceremony. Notger hesitated, but in the end sent a
message that he would do what was required of him.

On the appointed day the Seigneur of Chèvremont from his watch-tower
saw the Bishop approaching the castle at the head of a long procession
of priests clothed in gorgeous vestments, and chanting psalms. Praising
the zeal of the prelate who had come to baptize his son with such
unusual pomp, he ordered the drawbridge to be lowered and the gates of
the castle to be opened. The procession entered, and, when all were
assembled in the courtyard, Bishop Notger addressed Immon.

'Seigneur,' he said, 'this castle is no longer yours, but mine.'

'What do you mean?' asked Immon.

'I say,' replied the Bishop, 'that this place belongs to me, the only
lord of the country. Immon, yield to necessity, and depart. I promise
to give you full compensation.' 'It is fortunate for you,' exclaimed
the châtelain, in a fury, 'that you entered my castle under a promise
of safety, for otherwise you leave it torn in pieces! Scoundrel!
Miserable priest! Fly, lest some evil befall you!'

Instantly Notger gave a signal to his followers, who, throwing off the
surplices, albs, and other ecclesiastical vestments which had covered
their armour, and drawing the swords which had been concealed about
them, rushed upon the inhabitants of the castle, and slaughtered them
without mercy. It is said that Immon threw himself in despair over the
walls, and that his wife perished miserably with her infant son. The
castle was razed to the ground; the religious houses which clustered
round it were destroyed; and the revenue of the chapels, which were
also laid in ruins, served to enrich the churches of Liége and
Aix-la-Chapelle.

[Illustration: PONT DES ARCHES, LIÉGE]

Whatever may now be thought of this episode in church history, it
made Bishop Notger more popular than ever. Otho the Great and his
successors added to the gifts by which Charlemagne had enriched the
bishopric; and in 1006, two years before the death of Notger, the
Emperor Henry II. confirmed all these donations by a charter, in which
Namur, Dinant, Tongres, Maestricht, Malines, Gembloux, St. Hubert,
and other important places are named as pertaining to the diocese of
Liége. Thus, at the beginning of the eleventh century, the Bishop of
the Principality was already possessed of extraordinary power. A few
years later the Countess of Hainaut, being then at war with Flanders,
sought an alliance with the Bishop of Liége, and, in return for his
help, accepted him as her feudal superior; and the Counts of Hainaut,
themselves amongst the proudest nobles of that day, were vassals of
Liége until the times of Charles the Bold.

The frightful anarchy of the feudal period was nowhere worse than in
this part of Europe. Murders, acts of revenge, robberies, took place
without end. A state of war was the normal condition of society in the
Valley of the Meuse and throughout the Ardennes. Noble fought against
noble, and vassal against vassal. By the law or custom of these days,
the feudal barons had the right of settling their disputes by force
of arms; and their prince could not forbid them. But, though he could
not interfere in his secular character, he could do so as bishop; and
the influence of the Church, though the bishops themselves were often
arrogant and ambitious, had been used to promote the cause of peace by
proclaiming a truce of forty days, during which prayers were offered up
for the souls of those who had fallen in battle. A 'quarantaine,' as
it was called, being appointed for the death of each knight, there was
sometimes a whole year of peace, during which enemies met on outwardly
friendly terms, visited each other's châteaux, and went together to
tournaments or village fêtes. Sometimes, during these periods of
repose, families which had been at deadly feud intermarried, and ladies
who had been made widows, or daughters who had become orphans, married
the very warriors who had slain their husbands or fathers. But more
frequently, as soon as the 'quarantaine' was over, every one set to
work again, burning houses and killing each other as before.

At last Henri de Verdun, who became Bishop of Liége in 1075, resolved
to stop, if possible, the private wars which were the scourge
of society. He assembled the nobles of the Principality and the
surrounding districts, and urged upon them the necessity of at least
making an effort to put an end to the ceaseless strife in which
they lived. 'The only means I can think of,' he said, 'is to choose
a supreme judge, with power to punish those who are guilty of
excesses.' The nobles consented to this proposal. He himself was
appointed to the new office, and his successors in the bishopric of
Liége were declared, for all time coming, judges of the 'Court of
Peace.'

[Illustration: ESCALIER DE LA FONTAINE, LIÉGE]

The rules of the 'Tribunal de Paix de Liége' decreed that on certain
days it was unlawful to carry arms, and that any freeman who committed
murder or acts of violence should be deprived of his estate and
expelled from the Principality, while a slave was to be punished by
the loss of whatever he might possess, and have his right hand cut
off. From Wednesday to Monday, during the festivals of the Church, the
_Trève de Dieu_ was to be strictly observed. The Peace Tribunal was to
decide cases of assassination, rape, incendiarism, robbery, and other
offences which might lead to a breach of the public peace. Anyone who
did not appear before the court, after being duly cited, was to be
declared infamous, and was liable to a sentence of excommunication. But
the accused could--such was the warlike spirit of the times--always
claim to have his case decided by judicial combat.

The Dukes of Bouillon and Limbourg, together with the Counts of
Luxembourg, Louvain, Namur, Hainaut, Montaigu, Clermont, and La Roche,
signed the Act which established the 'Tribunal de Paix '; and they all
swore to obey its decisions, except the Count of La Roche, who refused
to take any oath whatever.

On this the other barons made war upon him, and defeated him in a
pitched battle. He fled to his castle and stood a siege of seven
months, till, his provisions being exhausted, he saw nothing before
him but surrender or starvation. Suddenly he thought of a stratagem.
He fed a sow, the only animal which remained alive in the castle, with
his last measure of wheat, and let it escape. The besiegers killed it,
and, finding that it had just had a full meal, came to the conclusion
that it was useless to continue the siege, as the garrison seemed well
supplied with food. They therefore made peace with the Count of La
Roche, who thus remained free from the jurisdiction of the Tribunal
de Paix. The other barons also excused themselves; so did the clergy;
and, in the end, the burghers of Liége refused to accept the decisions
of the court, when, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, they
obtained a great extension of their privileges under a charter granted
by Albert de Cuyck, who had come to the episcopal throne in 1195.
Whenever there was a vacancy in the See of Liége, all the princes
of Belgium, and often those of other countries, tried to obtain the
nomination for one of their relatives. In the year 1193 Albert de
Louvain, who had been chosen against the wish of the Emperor Henry
IV., was murdered at Rheims by a band of German knights, probably
under secret orders from the Emperor, who forthwith put forward
Simon de Limbourg, then only sixteen years of age, as Bishop of the
Principality. Simon de Limbourg was supported by the Duke of Brabant;
but the Counts of Flanders, of Namur, and of Hainaut, refused to accept
him. The Pope suspended his election, and Albert de Cuyck, backed up
by the Count of Hainaut, took possession of the bishopric, and went to
Rome to prosecute his claim against that of Simon de Limbourg, which
was still maintained before the Holy See. Simon de Limbourg died, or
was made away with, at Rome, and de Cuyck became Bishop.

He was now deeply in debt, having borrowed a large sum from the Count
of Flanders, and spent it at Rome in bribery to secure his election
as Bishop. This debt he got rid of by the sale of civil offices and
ecclesiastical benefices; but more money was needed at Liége in order
to repair the walls of the town. For this purpose a tax was laid, by
decree of the Bishop and the civil magistrates, on the people and the
clergy. The latter refused to pay, on the ground that they had not been
consulted. The magistrates and the laity insisted that the clergy must
bear their share of the common burden. The Bishop took the side of the
people against the clergy, and in order to make himself popular granted
a charter, which was confirmed by the Emperor Philip II. in 1208.

This charter of Albert de Cuyck is an important landmark in the
constitutional history of the Principality of Liége. It declared that
the people might not be taxed without their own consent. It relieved
them from the burden of lodging and feeding armed men, a constant
source of discontent at that time; and it freed them from being
compelled to follow the Bishop into battle, unless he was making war in
defence of the Principality, and even then not till fifteen days after
he had assembled his own immediate vassals. It provided that no officer
of the law might enter a house to search for a thief or for stolen
property without leave from the owner of the house. No freeman could be
arrested or imprisoned except under a legal warrant. The justices of
the town were to be the only judges in a trial for any crime committed
within the walls. No stranger might challenge a burgher of Liége to
trial by combat, but must prosecute him before the judges. During eight
days before Christmas and Easter no arrest for debt was allowed, though
at other times a debtor, against whom judgment had been given, must
either pay at once, find security before sunset, or go to prison.

These, and other provisions of a similar nature, were the regulations
set forth in the charter of Albert de Cuyck, the principles of which
were afterwards embodied, from time to time, in other public Acts.
It was, like the Joyeuse Entrée of Brabant, merely a declaration
of rights, many of which had previously existed; but it gave these
rights the sanction and authority of written law. Thenceforth the
people began to assert themselves, and for many long years to come the
history of Liége is a record of revolutions and intestine wars, the
populace rebelling either against the bishops or the barons, and of
feuds between the bishops and the barons, in which the populace took
part, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. The people of
the Principality, as soon as they had obtained the charter, refused
to accept the jurisdiction of the Peace Tribunal. Disputes were not
settled, and one private war followed another.

The most trifling incident was often the cause of a sanguinary
struggle; but perhaps the most foolish of all was that known as the
_Guerre de la Vache de Ciney_.

[Illustration: THE HOSPITAL, DINANT]

A peasant of the province of Namur, named Jallet, went to a fair at
Ciney, the chief town in the district of Condroz, in the forest of
Ardennes, and there stole a cow belonging to one of the townsmen. He
took the animal to Andenne, on the Meuse between Liége and Huy, where
the Duke of Brabant and the Counts of Namur and Luxembourg, with many
knights and ladies, had met for a tournament. One of the company was
Jean de Halloy, the baillie of Condroz, and to him the owner of the
cow, who had followed the thief, complained. The baillie promised
pardon to Jallet on condition that he would take the cow back to Ciney.
Jallet started, driving the wretched beast before him, but as soon as
he entered the district of Condroz, the baillie had him arrested and
hanged. On this Jean de Beaufort, feudal lord of Goesnes, the village
in which Jallet had lived, assembled his friends, and proceeded to
attack Condroz. Then the people of Huy flew to arms, and burned the
château of Goesnes. Forthwith the Duke of Brabant, with the Counts
of Flanders, Namur, and Luxembourg, joined in the fray, burned the town
of Ciney, and threatened to devastate all the country round Liége. Next
the people of Dinant came on the scene, invaded Namur and Luxembourg,
burned many villages in the Ardennes, and slaughtered the villagers.
For three years the war continued, until at last, when, it is said,
no fewer than 20,000 people had been killed, and the whole country of
the Ardennes, from Luxembourg to the Meuse, had been laid waste, the
combatants came to their senses. It was resolved to end the struggle
by arbitration. Philip the Hardy, King of France, agreed to act as
peacemaker, and, being of opinion that both parties were equally to
blame, decided that each must bear its own losses! History says nothing
about what became of the cow.



CHAPTER XXI

THE DUKES OF BURGUNDY--DESTRUCTION OF LIÉGE BY CHARLES THE BOLD


The whole story of Liége and the Ardennes is full of episodes, like
the war of the cow of Ciney. It would be easy to fill volumes with
tales of adventures in the Valley of the Meuse, and under the walls
of Liége--how castles were taken by strategy or by open assault; how
ladies were carried off, and rescued by some daring feat of arms; how
desperate encounters were fought out in the depths of the forest; how
bandits roamed about, killing and robbing as they pleased; how almost
the only place where a woman felt safe was a convent; how the peasants
were oppressed; and how the common people of the towns lived in a
state of chronic mutiny. All these things make up the story of how
men and women lived in what is now one of the most peaceful regions
in Europe. The glamour of chivalry does not conceal the fierce and
revengeful spirit of every class. A history of this part of Belgium,
written as Sir Walter Scott wrote the history of Scotland, would be as
entertaining as the 'Tales of a Grandfather.'

Nowhere could a richer field be found for the plots of historical
fiction; and it is not strange that the author of 'Ivanhoe' should have
chosen it as the scene of a romance. In 'Quentin Durward' history is,
of course, subordinate to fiction. The murder of the Bishop of Liége
is represented as taking place fifteen years before its real date.
The description of the tragedy has no resemblance to what actually
happened. The people of the Principality are made to speak Flemish
instead of French or their native Walloon. But such dry-as-dust
criticisms would be absurd, and the 'true king of the romantics' has
reproduced, with inimitable skill, the spirit of the long, bloody drama
in which Louis of France and Charles of Burgundy were the chief actors.

[Illustration: LA MAISON CURTIUS, LIÉGE]

About the middle of the fifteenth century the House of Burgundy was
at the summit of its power, and held sway over Flanders and Brabant,
Hainaut, Namur, and Luxembourg. But the ecclesiastical Principality
of Liége, though wedged in between Brabant, Luxembourg, and Namur,
remained a separate state. Ever since the charter of Albert de
Cuyck the power of the commons had grown, and with it their
determination to maintain their liberty and independence. Nor were
the nobles more inclined to exchange the bishops for other rulers,
especially if these were to be the Dukes of Burgundy. For the House
of Burgundy had been detested in Liége since the winter of 1408, when
Bishop John of Bavaria--_Jean sans Pitie_, as he was called by his
subjects--had crushed a revolution, which his tyranny had produced, by
calling to his aid the Duke of Burgundy and the Counts of Hainaut and
Namur. On November 24, 1408, in a battle at Othée, near Tongres, the
revolutionary army of Liége, 30,000 strong, had been defeated, and a
massacre followed, the horrors of which had never been forgotten. The
triumph of John of Bavaria and his merciless oppressions were due to
the support which he received from the arms of Burgundy, and the result
was that afterwards, during the struggle between Philip the Good, Duke
of Burgundy, and France, the sympathies of Liége were always on the
side of France.

In 1430, when Jean de Heinsberg was Bishop of Liége, the Burgundian
Governor of Namur forbade the town of Dinant to repair its walls. The
men of Liége marched towards Dinant, burning castles and villages
on their way. Another war seemed inevitable; but the Bishop, who had
accompanied the army, apparently against his will, prevented this
calamity by going on his knees to Philip and humbly asking pardon for
the excesses which his vassals had committed. The people of Liége,
however, indignant at this humiliation, became so turbulent that
the Bishop was several times on the point of resigning. It appears,
nevertheless, that his resignation was forced upon him by the Duke of
Burgundy.

Heinsberg had promised a certain benefice to Louis de Bourbon, the
Duke's nephew, but gave it to another claimant. Philip having sent an
envoy to demand an explanation, the Bishop said: 'Let His Highness
have patience. I intend him for a better benefice than that.' 'Which?'
he was asked. 'The one I hold myself,' he replied. He soon repented
of this rash promise, and was about to journey into France and ask
protection from the King, when Philip invited him to The Hague. There
he was treated with all honour till the day of his departure, when the
Duke suddenly asked him if he intended to fulfil his promise about the
bishopric. Heinsberg declared that he would certainly keep his word,
but was, in spite of what he had said, taken into a dark room, where
he found a Franciscan and an executioner, clothed in black and armed
with a naked sword, awaiting him. 'Most Reverend Seigneur,' said the
Franciscan, 'you have twice broken faith with the Duke. Resign at once,
or prepare to die.'

At these words, so the story goes, Bishop Heinsberg was so terrified
that he signed his resignation on the spot in favour of Louis de
Bourbon, who was not yet in Holy Orders, and was, indeed, a mere youth
of eighteen, a student at the University of Louvain, whither his uncle
had sent him to be educated. The Chapter of St. Lambert, by whom
the bishops had always been chosen, complained; but the appointment
was confirmed by the Holy See, and the whole spiritual and secular
administration of the Principality passed into the hands of the young
prelate.

This was a triumph for the House of Burgundy, which had long aimed
at extending its influence to the Principality of Liége; but in it
few years the clergy, the nobility, and the people united against the
Duke's nephew, and combined to drive him from the management of their
affairs. In order to protect themselves against Philip, who might
interfere on behalf of his nephew, they appointed as regent Mark of
Baden, brother-in-law of the Emperor Frederick III., who came to Liége
attended by a body of German troops.

The prospect of a war in the Belgian provinces, which would compel
the Duke of Burgundy to withdraw a part of his army from France, was
hailed with joy by Louis XI. He promised help, both in men and money,
to the people of Liége, who forthwith assembled in arms. Charles the
Bold, Philip's son, at that time known as the Comte de Charolais,
was then fighting in France; but a force of Burgundians, sent by his
father, had no difficulty in defeating the raw army of Liége, which,
left to its own resources by the Germans, was cut to pieces on the
field of Montenac in the autumn of 1465. Louis XI., instead of coming
to the assistance of the Liégeois, sent a letter advising them to
make peace with Philip before the redoubtable Comte de Charolais made
his appearance in their territory; and a convention was signed which
laid the Liégeois at the feet of the Duke of Burgundy, who became
Regent of the Principality. Peace was duly proclaimed at the Perron
in the market-place of Liége. But the ruling party at Dinant were so
foolhardy as to declare war against Namur. On this Charles the Bold
besieged Dinant.

Messengers sent from the Burgundian camp with a
summons to surrender were murdered by the townsmen, who in a short
time saw their walls breached by heavy guns brought from the arsenals
of Brabant. Then they offered to negotiate for a capitulation, but the
offer was refused. Dinant was taken, sacked, and burned. The Hôtel de
Ville was blown up by an explosion of gunpowder. The cathedral was
almost entirely destroyed. A number of wealthy citizens who had been
made prisoners and confined in a building adjoining the cathedral
were burned alive. Eight hundred persons, tied together in pairs,
were thrown into the Meuse and drowned. The work of vengeance was not
finished until every house had been demolished; for Charles of Burgundy
had declared that a day would come when travellers, passing up the
Valley of the Meuse, would ask where it was that Dinant had once stood.

Philip the Good died at Bruges in June, 1467, and Charles the Bold
became Duke of Burgundy. The new reign began with troubles in Flanders
and Brabant, and these had scarcely been overcome when there was a
fresh rising at Liége, so dissatisfied were the people with the terms
of peace, which, arranged after the terrible Battle of Montenac, left
them subject to the House of Burgundy. Frenchmen, sent by the King on
the pretext of mediating between Louis de Bourbon and his vassals,
encouraged the popular discontent, which rose to such a height that
the town of Huy, where the Bishop lived, was attacked and plundered.
The Bishop fled to Namur, but some of his servants and some partisans
of Burgundy were slain. Charles, exasperated beyond all bounds,
marched against Liége. On his arrival, 300 of the burghers came forth,
imploring mercy and offering him the keys of the town. He spared their
lives, but only on the condition that he was to enter the town and
there dictate his own terms. This condition was accepted, and Charles
rode in. The Bishop of Liége and Cardinal La Balue, the Ambassador of
Louis XI., were with him. On one side of the street stood the burghers,
and on the other the priests, all as penitents, with heads uncovered
and torches in their hands. Charles dismounted at the Bishop's palace,
where, a few days later, in the presence of a vast assemblage of
people, he pronounced sentence on the town and Principality of Liége.

Most of the privileges which had been granted from time to time since
the charter of Albert de Cuyck were abolished. An appeal from the
civil judges to the Bishop and his council was established. The
seat of the bishopric was removed from Liége, and it was ordained that
the spiritual court was to sit at Maestricht, Louvain, or Namur. The
Bishop was forbidden to levy taxes on produce carried up or down the
Meuse without leave from the Duke of Brabant, and the Counts of Hainaut
and Namur. It was decreed that the people of the Principality must
never take arms against Burgundy, go to war, or make alliances without
the Duke's permission. The walls and gates of Liége, and of all other
towns in the Principality, were to be destroyed; the manufacture of
arms was forbidden; the Perron was to be removed, and the Duke was to
do with it as he pleased.

[Illustration: LE ROCHER BAYARD, DINANT]

These articles, and many more, all of them framed for the purpose of
curbing the spirit of the Liégeois, were embodied in the deed which
was read aloud in the Bishop's palace on November 26, 1467. The Bishop
and all the notables having sworn to obey it, Charles told them that
if they kept true to their oath he, in return, would protect them.
The sentence which was thus pronounced was rigorously executed. Many
of the popular faction fled to France; others took refuge among the
Ardennes; some were executed. The Perron was carried away to Bruges,
and there engraved with an inscription full of insults to the people
of Liége; the walls of the town were thrown down; spies went about the
country districts watching the villagers and gathering information. So
universal was the feeling of suspicion and fear, and so heavy were the
taxes levied on the wealthy, that many families abandoned all their
possessions and went into exile.

These doings had been watched at Rome; and presently a papal legate,
the Bishop of Tricaria, came to Liége, and advised Louis de Bourbon to
resist the violence of the Duke's agents, and recall by degrees those
who had fled or been banished from the country. But the youthful Bishop
preferred to live at Brussels, where the brilliant and luxurious life
of the Burgundian Court was in full swing. He took such delight in the
fêtes for which the gay capital of Brabant was famous that he actually
attempted to reproduce them in his own desolate Principality, and on
one occasion came sailing up the Meuse from Maestricht in a barge
painted with all the colours of the rainbow, and made his appearance
before the ruined walls of Liége surrounded by musicians and buffoons.

Meanwhile, in the dark recesses of the Ardennes a band of the exiles
had been wandering about, sleeping on the bare ground in the open air,
clothed in rags, starving, and ready for mischief. These men, under
the leadership of Jean de Ville, hearing that Liége was unguarded, and
that war was likely to break out once more between Burgundy and France,
marched from the forest to Liége, and complained to the Pope's legate.
He went to the Bishop, who was then at Maestricht, and laid before him
the miserable condition of the country. The Bishop promised that he
would return to Liége; but Charles the Bold, from whom nothing was hid,
wrote and told him that, as soon as he had settled his affairs with the
King of France, he was coming to the Principality to punish these new
rebels against his authority. On this the Bishop, instead of going to
Liége, went with the legate to Tongres.

This desertion drove Jean de Ville and his followers to despair. They
made a night march to Tongres, surprised the Bishop's guards, some
of whom they killed, and persuaded, or, rather, compelled, Louis and
the Pope's legate to come with them to Liége. The war on which the
insurgents counted when they thus captured the Bishop did not break
out. On the contrary, negotiations had commenced, and ambassadors from
France were discussing terms of peace with Charles at the very time of
the raid on Tongres.

The summer of 1468 was a time of splendour at the Court of Burgundy. On
June 25 Margaret of York, attended by a brilliant company of English
lords and ladies, sailed into the harbour of Sluis, where she was met
by Charles the Bold. A week later they journeyed by the canal to the
ancient town of Damme, where their marriage was celebrated at five
o'clock on the morning of July 3. On that same day they entered Bruges
in state, followed by a train of sixty ladies of the greatest families
of England and Burgundy, and surrounded by nobles and princes who wore
the Order of the Golden Fleece. The famous tournament of the Tree of
Gold was held, after the marriage feast, in the market-place, and the
revels continued for eight days longer. All was bright and gay in
Flanders; but far away among the Ardennes dark clouds were gathering
over the Valley of the Meuse.

In the beginning of October the headquarters of the Burgundian army
were at Peronne on the Somme. Louis XI. went thither with only a small
escort, and sought an interview with Charles. Whatever his motive may
have been for putting himself in the power of his rival, he had soon
good reason to repent of his rashness. A party of Burgundians from
Liége arrived at Peronne, accused the rebels of gross cruelty to the
Bishop and to the Duke's friends, and asserted that some Frenchmen
had taken part in the affair at Tongres. Charles, on hearing their
statements, burst into one of his fits of uncontrollable anger. 'I
know,' he cried, 'who is at the bottom of all this,' and forthwith
locked up the King of France in the citadel of Peronne. After three
days, during which Louis went in fear of his life, and Charles
meditated all sorts of vengeance, the King was set free, and swore a
solemn oath that he would assist Charles to punish the Liégeois.

Then the allied forces of France and Burgundy marched into the
Principality. When they approached Liége the Bishop and the papal
legate met them, and endeavoured to make terms for the people, throwing
themselves on their knees before Charles, and beseeching him not to
punish the innocent and the guilty alike. The Bishop, it was pointed
out, had pardoned the affront which he had received; but the Duke
forbade them to speak of pardon. He was master, he said, of the lives
and property of these incorrigible rebels, and he would do with them as
he pleased. After this there was nothing more to be said. The doom of
Liége had been spoken.

A sally, made during the night by Jean de Ville and his men, though
it threw the Burgundian outposts into confusion, had no effect but
to increase the Duke's anger; and on Sunday, October 30, he entered
the town at the head of his army, passing over the ruins of the old
walls. There was no resistance. The streets were empty. The wealthier
inhabitants, and all who had made themselves prominent in the recent
disturbances, had fled to the Ardennes with their families, taking away
as many of their possessions as they could carry. A great multitude of
poor people, women, children, and old men, had concealed themselves
in the cellars of their houses. Charles and the King rode through a
deserted town till they came to the Hôtel de Ville. Here the Duke waved
his sword on high, and shouted, 'Vive Bourgoyne!' The King of France
drew his, and shouted likewise, 'Vive Bourgoyne!' and at this signal
40,000 soldiers were let loose.

[Illustration: OLD HOUSE OF THE QUAI DE LA GOFFE, LIÉGE]

The people were dragged from their places of concealment and slain.
Many who escaped immediate death ran to the churches for shelter. The
priests, with crucifixes in their hands, came to the doors and
implored the soldiers not to enter. They were cut down, and those whom
they had tried to protect were killed, even on the steps of the altars.
Old men and children were trampled underfoot. Young girls were outraged
before their mothers' eyes, or put to death, shrieking and imploring
mercy. Churches, convents, private houses were alike pillaged. Tombs
were broken open in the search for plunder, and the bones of the dead
were thrown out. Those who were suspected of possessing valuables
were tortured to make them confess where their treasures were hidden.
As the day went on every street in Liége ran with blood like a
slaughter-house, till at last the soldiers grew tired of killing their
victims one by one, and, tying them together in bundles of a dozen or
more persons, threw them into the Meuse, where men and women, old and
young, perished in one struggling mass. It is said that nearly 50,000
died, most of them in the town or by drowning in the river, but many
from cold and famine among the Ardennes.

The horrors of the sacking of Dinant had been surpassed. Charles,
however, was not yet satisfied. His real wish was to wipe Liége from
the face of the earth--to destroy it utterly; but before doing so, he
made a pretence of consulting Louis of France. The King, who understood
him thoroughly, replied: 'Opposite my father's bedroom there was a
tree, in which some troublesome birds had built their nest, and made
such a noise that he could not sleep. He destroyed the nest three
times, but they always returned. At last, on the advice of a friend, he
cut down the tree, and after that he was able to repose in peace.'

Charles took this hint as it was meant, and gave orders that Liége was
to be set on fire, and every building of stone, except the churches and
the houses of the clergy, pulled down. These orders were carried out
to the letter. The flames consumed row after row of houses, and any
edifice not made of wood was undermined by the pickaxes of an army of
workmen who laboured for seven weeks, till at last nothing remained of
Liége but churches and the dwellings of the priests standing forlorn
amidst a heap of smoking ruins. While the work of destruction was in
progress Charles embarked for Maestricht, sent the Pope's legate back
to Rome with the news of what had befallen the bishopric of Liége, and,
having ravaged all the country for miles around, departed for his own
dominions.

The years passed on, and at last there came a time when the voice
which shouted 'Vive Bourgoyne!' in Liége was silent, the sword fallen
from the hand which had waved it as a signal for the massacre, and the
proud head of the conqueror brought very low. On Tuesday, January 7,
1477, two days after the fight at Nancy, in which Duke René of Lorraine
had defeated the Burgundian army, a young page, Jean Baptiste Colonna,
son of a noble Roman house, was guiding a party who were searching
for the body of Charles the Bold to where he thought he had seen his
master fall during the battle. Not far from the town, near the chapel
of St. Jean de l'Atre, they found a heap of dead men lying naked among
snow and ice and frozen blood in the bed of a small stream. One of the
searchers, a poor washerwoman who had served in the Duke's household,
saw a ring which she recognized on a finger of one of the corpses, and
exclaimed: 'Ah! Mon Prince!' When they raised the head from the ice to
which it was frozen the skin of one cheek peeled off. Wolves or dogs
had been gnawing the other. A stroke from some battle-axe had split
the head down to the chin. But when the blood had been washed from the
disfigured face it was known, beyond all doubt, for that of Charles
the Bold.

They buried him before the altar of St. Sebastian in the
Church of St. George at Nancy, where the body of the great warrior
remained till 1550. when, in the reign of Charles V., it was carried
into Flanders, and laid beside that of his daughter Marie in the choir
of Notre Dame at Bruges.



CHAPTER XXII

THE WILD BOAR OF ARDENNES


Though the churches and the houses of the clergy had been left
standing, in accordance with the orders given by Charles the Bold in
1468, the town of Liége was ruined. After a time, however, those who
had escaped with their lives began to return, and by degrees a new
Liége arose. The Principality also recovered to some extent; but its
prestige was so much diminished in the eyes of Europe that an alliance
with the bishops was no longer, as of old, an object of ambition to
other states.

On the death of Charles the Bold Louis de Bourbon, who was still
Bishop, made up his mind to devote himself in future to the government
of his Principality. As uncle of the young Duchess Marie, who was the
only daughter of Charles by his second wife, Isabelle de Bourbon, he
had sufficient influence at the Court of Burgundy to obtain important
concessions in favour of Liége. A yearly tribute of 30,000 florins,
which the late Duke had exacted, was remitted, and the Liégeois were
promised the restoration of their ancient charters and privileges.
The Perron, to the possession of which the people attached great
importance, was sent back from Bruges, and the townsmen showed their
gratitude to the Bishop by voting him a substantial sum of money.

When he came to Liége, among the first to greet him was William de la
Marck, head of the ancient house of Arenberg. Two of his ancestors
had been Bishops of Liége, and the family was one of the greatest in
the Principality. This William de la Marck had been a warrior from
his youth. He was one of the handsomest men of his time, but to make
himself an object of fear to his enemies he wore a long shaggy beard,
and imitated the ferocious manners of the brigands who had from time
immemorial haunted the most inaccessible part of the Ardennes. On his
coat of arms there was the head of a wild boar, and, either for that
reason or because of his fierce character, he was nicknamed the Wild
Boar of Ardennes.

[Illustration: A PEASANT WOMAN OF THE ARDENNES]

After the destruction of Liége Louis XI., anxious to raise fresh
troubles in the Principality in order to embarrass Charles of Burgundy
and the Bishop, had employed as his agent de la Marck, who, for
the purpose of picking a quarrel with the Bishop, caused one of the
vicars, against whom he had no cause of complaint, to be murdered
in cold blood. His favourite haunt was the Castle of Aigremont, a
fortalice perched on a hill above the left bank of the Meuse, to the
west of Liége. This place the Bishop destroyed. Thereupon de la Marck,
who let it be understood that he was acting in concert with the King
of France, and by this means obtained a numerous following among the
outlaws whom Charles of Burgundy had banished, declared open war
against both Louis de Bourbon and the Duke.

But when the Bishop returned to Liége, on the death of Charles and the
accession of the Duchess Marie, de la Marck hastened to make peace. The
Bishop granted him a pardon, made him Captain of the Guard and Governor
of Franchimont, rebuilt the Castle of Aigremont, and loaded him with
favours. But it was soon apparent that the Wild Boar was untamed. He
set the rules of the Church at defiance, refused to go to Mass or
confession, insisted on eating what he pleased in Lent, ruled all who
were under his authority with a rod of iron, made himself universally
hated by the nobles, and at last, taking offence at the remonstrances
of the Bishop, resigned his appointments, and left the Court. It
having been discovered that he was in correspondence with Louis XI.,
who was plotting the annexation of the Principality, a sentence of
banishment was pronounced against him as a traitor. He retired into the
Ardennes, where, assisted by gifts of arms and gold from France, he
gathered a strong band of French, German, and Swiss adventurers.

Suddenly, in August, 1482, news came to Liége that the Wild Boar was on
the march at the head of 4,000 horse and foot. The Bishop went forth
to give him battle on the slopes of the Chartreuse, on the right bank
of the river opposite the town. De la Marck, hearing from his spies
that the Bishop was coming on in front of his main body, and attended
only by a feeble escort, lay in wait for him at a difficult part of the
ascent. The surprise was complete, and the escort was cut to pieces.
The Bishop, alone in the hands of his enemy, cried out: 'Grâce! Grâce!
Seigneur d'Arenberg, je suis votre prisonnier!' But one of de la
Marck's followers struck him on the face. De la Marck himself drew his
sword, and wounded him in the neck, and, turning to his men, told them
to make an end of it. In an instant the Bishop fell from his horse
a dead man. They stripped his body, and left it lying in the mud for
hours; and it was with difficulty that the clergy obtained permission
to bury him with the honours due to his station.[58]

De la Marck, now master of the situation, called together the clergy of
the diocese, and pressed them to choose a new Bishop, suggesting his
own son, Jean d'Arenberg, a young man who was not yet a priest, as the
most suitable person. Some of the canons, with whom the election lay,
left Liége to escape voting. Those who remained were terrified into
obedience, and the Wild Boar's son was declared Bishop. De la Marck, at
the same time, appointed himself Governor of the Principality.

The murder of the Bishop, and the election of the murderer's son to
succeed him, led to new commotions. A meeting of the canons who had
fled from Liége, and their brethren who had been coerced into voting,
was held at Namur. In that town, out of the Wild Boar's 'sphere of
influence,' having declared the election of Jean d'Arenberg null and
void, they proceeded to vote again. On this occasion they were divided
into two parties. Some supported Jacques de le Roy, the Count of
Chimay's brother, while others were in favour of Jean de Home, a great
noble who had been made prisoner at the Chartreuse, but had afterwards
escaped.

There were thus three Bishops-Elect, and another civil war broke
out. The Archduke Maximilian[59] sent an army from Brabant into the
Principality, under Philip of Clèves, to avenge the death of Louis de
Bourbon. De la Marck laid waste the lands of Jean de Horne, seized
Tongres and other towns, and marched, at the head of 16,000 Liégeois
and a number of mercenaries, against Philip of Clèves. But his troops
were no match for the trained veterans of Brabant. The mercenaries
were driven back upon the Liégeois, who broke and ran. This defeat did
not quell the spirit of de la Marck; but Louis XI., on whom he relied,
died next year, and the Pope declared in favour of Jean de Horne. De la
Marck then saw that his wisest course was to make peace, and in June,
1484, a convention was signed at St. Trond, the terms of which show
that the Boar of the Ardennes was no mere bandit chief, but an
astute diplomatist, and a man of great influence in the Principality.
An indemnity of 30,000 livres was to be paid him by the town of Liége,
in security for which an assignment was made in his favour of the lands
of Franchimont and the Duchy of Bouillon. If he should be attacked by
any who felt aggrieved by his recent proceedings, the Bishop was to
help him at all costs. Excesses committed by either side were to be
pardoned, and those whose property had been damaged were to have no
claim for compensation.

[Illustration: THE RIVER SAMBRE SEEN FROM THE PONT DE SAMBRE, NAMUR]

When Jean de Horne, now duly accepted as Bishop, made his state entry
into Liége de la Marck rode beside him, and the two soon became
inseparable. They usually dined together at the Bishop's table. They
gave each other presents. If there was a fête, they attended it in
company. They are said to have even slept in the same bed, at that
time a favourite sign of friendship among the great. But, though it
seemed as if they were bent on setting the people an example of mutual
forgiveness and brotherly love, there were some who shook their heads,
and hinted that the friendships of great men who have been estranged
are seldom sincere.

Next year there was a fête at St. Trond in honour of the Bishop of
Liége, at which all the nobles of the Principality, with their wives
and daughters, had assembled. De la Marck, of course, was there.
Feasting and dancing went on till late in the afternoon, when the
Bishop's brothers, Jacques de Horne and Fréderic de Montigny, called
for their horses, saying they must start for Louvain. The Bishop
proposed to de la Marck that they should ride part of the way in
company, and to this he agreed. So the Bishop, his two brothers, and
de la Marck rode together till they reached a level plain, where de
Montigny challenged de la Marck to race him to a wood which was some
distance before them. They started, and left the others behind. De la
Marck, who was mounted on a very swift horse, was soon in front, and
galloped on till he reached the wood. The moment he drew rein a band of
soldiers, who had been lying in ambush, rushed out and surrounded him.
Then de Montigny rode up and said: 'You are my prisoner.' De la Marck,
who was not armed, asked what he meant, on which de Montigny produced
an order for his arrest signed by the Archduke Maximilian, and told him
they must now go to Maestricht. 'Then,' said de la Marck at once, 'it
is to my death.'

They reached Maestricht in the evening, and soon de la Marck was told
that he had only a few hours to live. During the night he was visited
by the Prior of the Dominicans, from whom, having made confession,
he received absolution. Early next morning they brought him to the
scaffold in the market-place. A prodigious crowd had gathered round it,
and in a window close at hand, openly rejoicing at the scene, was the
Bishop of Liége. De la Marck called to him in a loud voice, reproaching
him for his treachery, and uttered a solemn warning that the Wild
Boar's head, then about to fall, would 'bleed for many a day.' He asked
the nearest of the spectators to carry his last farewells to his wife
and children. To his brothers and friends he left the work of avenging
his death. He took off his cloak himself, and threw it to the crowd.
Then, lifting his long beard so that it covered his face, he bent down,
and the executioner struck off his head with one blow.

The Archduke Maximilian had ordered the arrest of de la Marck on the
ground that he was engaged in some fresh plot with France; but the
conduct of the Bishop and his brothers was loudly condemned even in
that age of perfidy. The family of de la Marck swore vengeance, and
the Principality of Liége was once more bathed in blood. Calling
to his aid the common people, who had always loved the Wild Boar,
and assisted behind the scenes by the King of France, who wished to
excite the Liégeois against the Archduke Maximilian, Everard de la
Marck, William's brother, made war against Jean de Horne. A sanguinary
struggle, in which no mercy was shown on either side, went on for seven
years, but at last the Bishop and his friends made up their minds to
sue for pardon.

A conference was agreed to, which took place on a meadow near Haccourt,
on the Meuse between Liége and Maestricht. On the appointed day the
Bishop-Prince, attended by his nobles, but himself unarmed, met the
brother of the man whom he had so treacherously ensnared. Dismounting
from his horse, he approached Everard de la Marck, and said: 'I ask you
to pardon me for the death of your brother William.'

Everard looked on him coldly, and said nothing, whereupon the Bishop
burst into tears, and sobbed: 'Seigneur Everard, pardon me. Pardon me,
I implore you by the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ!' Then
Everard, weeping also, answered: 'You ask pardon for the death of my
brother in the name of God, who died for us all? Well, I pardon
you.' So saying, he gave his hand to the Bishop, and they swore to live
at peace with each other.

[Illustration: LA GLEIZE, A VILLAGE IN THE ARDENNES]

This strange reconciliation, which took place in 1492, was soon
confirmed by the marriage of the Bishop's niece to Everard de la
Marck's son, and thereafter there were no more feuds between the
families of de Horne and Arenberg.

Three years later, in 1495, the Diet of Worms established the Imperial
Chamber, and put an end to the system of private wars.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 58: Bishop Louis de Bourbon was only forty-five at the date
of the murder.]

[Footnote 59: The Duchess Marie of Burgundy, who married the Archduke
Maximilian of Austria, afterwards Emperor, had died at Bruges in March,
1482; and Maximilian then became Regent of the Austrian Netherlands
during the minority of his children.]



CHAPTER XXIII

ÉRARD DE LA MARCK--THE PRINCIPALITY IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY


Jean de Horne was Bishop of Liége for twenty-three years, during which
the diocese was seldom free from party warfare. At the time of his
death, in 1506, the family of Arenberg was so strong and popular that
the Chapter of St. Lambert chose Érard de la Marck, the Wild Boar's
nephew, as Bishop.[60] He came to the episcopal throne resolved to end
the strife of factions and the family feuds which had been the sources
of such misery. He forbade his subjects, under pain of banishment, to
rake up the old causes of dispute. He declined to hear those who came
to him bearing tales against their neighbours. He chose the officers
of his Court without enquiring into their political opinions, and
let it be seen that, so long as the law was obeyed and public order
maintained, no one was to be called in question for anything which
might have happened in the past.

His foreign policy was equally wise. The Principality of Liége lay
between two mighty neighbours, and at first the Bishop's aim was to
remain neutral in any disputes which might arise between the Emperor
and the King of France. But when, on the death of Maximilian, Charles
V. and Francis I. were rivals for the imperial crown, he went to the
Diet at Frankfort, and supported the claims of Charles. From that
time the Principality, though independent of the rest of Belgium,
which formed part of the dominions of Charles V., was in as close
relations with the German Empire as the electorate of Cologne and
other ecclesiastical fiefs.[61] The bishops, chosen by the Chapter of
Liége, and confirmed by the Pope, were invested by the Emperor with the
secular power, and belonged to the Westphalian circle of the German
confederation.

In the strong hands of Bishop Érard the Principality had one of its
rare intervals of peace. He found the city of Liége in debt, and the
public service disordered by want of money. Many plans for raising
funds were laid before him. He examined them all, and then said to
his council: 'If you will leave everything to me for four years, I
promise to meet all your debts, and put your finances in order without
oppressing anyone, and without imposing new taxes.' This offer was
accepted, and, so great was his talent for business, in two years Liége
was free from all liabilities. During his reign almost every trace of
the destruction wrought by Charles the Bold disappeared. The citadel of
Dinant was restored. Huy and other places rose from their ashes, and
the Bishops' Palace, which stands in the Place St. Lambert at Liége
(the _Palais de Justice_ of to-day), was built. He died in 1538, having
kept the turbulent community of Liége quiet for thirty years.

When the religious troubles of the sixteenth century first began
the reformed doctrines made rapid progress, and the persecutors
were busy in Hainaut, Artois, and other Walloon districts in the
south-west of Belgium and along the French border. Almost the whole
population of Tournai in Hainaut was Calvinist. But the Principality
of Liége, governed by the bishop-princes, and independent of Spain,
did not suffer like the rest of the Netherlands during the struggle.
Nevertheless, before the death of Érard de la Marck the spirit of
revolt against the Church of Rome had touched the valley of the
Meuse; and, in 1532, Jean Camolet, a Carmelite father, came to Liége
empowered by the Pope to conduct an inquisition. The claim of the
Holy See to interfere with civil government was known to the people;
and the magistrates published a declaration that the judges of the
land were the only persons who had the right to deal with offences
of any kind committed by the citizens. The Bishop told them that the
inquisitor was sent by the Pope only to make enquiry into the beliefs
of those who were suspected of heresy, not to interfere with the
ordinary courts of law, and that there was no intention of setting up
the Spanish Inquisition in the diocese. But the magistrates replied:
'We have our own laws. Our own judges can deal with civil and criminal
cases. In matters of religion our own ecclesiastical courts are the
only competent tribunals, and we will not permit any infringement of
our ancient privileges.' Érard de la Marck, who was far too wise a
man to risk the dangers of a revolution, took upon himself the
responsibility of enquiry into cases of heresy, and thus saved the
Principality from civil war.

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF DINANT]

But, at a later period, when the Netherlands were in revolt from end
to end, and William of Orange was engaged in his stupendous contest
with Philip II., Gérard de Groisbeck, who was Bishop from 1565 to 1580,
found himself in a position of peculiar difficulty. The Principality
was at the mercy of both parties. The reformers pillaged the abbeys
of Hastière and St. Hubert, and held a great meeting at St. Trond,
where the famous battle-cry of 'Vivent les Gueux!' was shouted, and
defiance hurled at Philip and at Rome by a tumultuous assemblage under
the leadership of Brederode. The Prince of Orange himself, driven out
of Brabant, demanded a free passage for his army, and endeavoured
to obtain possession of Liége. In this he failed, but a garrison of
Spanish troops was sent to occupy the town, and the Bishop had to risk
the enmity of Alva by refusing to admit them. At the Pacification of
Ghent, in 1576, the Principality of Liége was invited to join the
United Provinces of the Netherlands; but the people were, like the
Walloons in the other parts of Belgium, intensely Catholic, and the
invitation was refused. Bishop de Groisbeck was resolved to maintain
the neutrality of his domains. Liége, he announced with consent of the
three estates, was to remain a neutral State, and take no part in the
quarrels of its neighbours. By this means he hoped to protect it from
the ravages of war, and, on the whole, he succeeded, though there was
fighting from time to time in the Valley of the Meuse, and the Siege
of Maestricht, with all the horrors which followed the capture of that
town, took place almost at his own door. His ideas of neutrality,
however, may be gathered from the fact that he sent 4,000 miners from
his coal-mines to help the besiegers of Maestricht. But the Walloons
were, at that time, Catholic beyond any other of the Belgian races, and
if the 'cry of agony which was distinctly heard at the distance of a
league,' which arose from the heroic defenders as the Spaniards rushed
in, could have reached Liége, it probably would not have touched the
hearts of many among the Liégeois. At all events, the Bishop's policy
was rewarded by a comparatively tranquil reign, disturbed only by a
series of petty squabbles with the magistrates of Liége, who claimed
the right of holding the keys of the town, a right which the Bishop
maintained belonged to him.

Gérard de Groisbeck died in 1580. There had often been a question
whether it would not be better for the people of Liége if the bishops
were chosen without regard to their family connections. Men of high
position, it was said, born in palaces, and accustomed from their birth
to flattery and the deference paid to social rank, were more likely to
be overbearing and ambitious than persons of humbler station. On the
other hand, it was argued that a small, turbulent State, surrounded
by powerful neighbours, required a ruler who could both secure useful
alliances against foreign aggressors, and command the respect and
obedience of his own subjects. De Groisbeck had always thought that the
Bishop of Liége should be chosen from some royal family; and on his
death-bed he recommended as his successor Prince Ernest of Bavaria,
grandson of the Emperor Ferdinand.

When the time came for the election of a new bishop the States-General
of the United Netherlands, and the Courts of Spain and France, each
brought forward a candidate, but the Chapter of Liége, wishing to
remain neutral between these rival interests, decided in favour of
Prince Ernest of Bavaria.

A description of his coming to Liége may give some idea of the
ceremonies which attended the installation of the bishop-princes. On
June 15, the day of his arrival, the magistrates went to meet him on
the outskirts of the town, and placed in his hands a copy of the oath
which his predecessors had always sworn: that he would maintain all
the privileges of the townsmen and their municipal laws, and would
never encroach on their liberties, nor allow them to be encroached on
by others. The Prince having taken this oath, the keys of the town
were presented to him. He returned them to the burgomasters with the
words: 'Hitherto you have guarded them faithfully, and I leave them
in your hands.' Then the Bishop's horse was led forward to the gate,
but as he drew near one of the company of crossbow-men stepped forward
and closed it. The attendants shouted, 'Open for the Prince!' but the
gate remained closed till a town servant had three times demanded in
name of the burgomasters that it should be opened, when this quaint
formality came to an end, and the Prince rode under the archway.
Within the walls he was met by the guild of crossbow-men, to whom
he promised the preservation of all their rights, privileges, and
liberties, after which the procession marched on, led by a member of
the Equestrian Order bearing the sword of state. Next came a band of
mounted halberdiers, riding before the governors of the chief towns,
who were clothed in mantles of embroidered silk. These were followed
by the lords and gentry of the Principality. Philip de Croy, Prince
of Chimay, was there at the head of 150 horsemen, together with the
Prince of Arenberg, the Duke of Juliers, the Duke of Bavaria, and a
long calvacade of nobles from other parts of Belgium, and from foreign
lands, each with a numerous retinue of cavaliers. The Bishop-Prince
himself came last, riding between the burgomasters of Liége, and
attended by 800 gentlemen-at-arms. A triumphal arch had been erected
in the street, on which stood a number of gaily dressed maidens. When
the Prince reached it the procession stopped, and from the top of the
arch a large wooden pineapple, representing the arms of the town,
was lowered into the roadway to the sound of music. It opened, and a
beautiful young girl came out, who recited some verses in honour of the
day, and presented the Prince with a gilded basket full of jewelled
ornaments and silver cups. In the market-place there were three stages.
On the first were four boys, representing the ecclesiastical estate,
who presented a golden statue as a symbol of the Christian Faith. At
the second a sword of honour, decorated with gold and precious stones,
was given by the estate of nobles. A golden heart was the offering of
the third estate. Close at hand there was a platform, on which a man of
the common people knelt before a judge, holding in his hands a scroll,
on which were the words, 'Let both sides be heard.'

At the door of the Cathedral of St. Lambert the leader of the choir
laid his hand on the Prince's saddle to signify that, by ancient
custom, he claimed the horse and its trappings as the perquisites of
his office. When the procession had entered the building the canons
welcomed the Bishop in the name of the Chapter, clothed him in a
rich cassock, and conducted him to the high altar, where, the Bishop
kneeling and the whole assemblage of nobles and Churchmen standing
round, the oath sworn by every Bishop of Liége was read aloud.

By this oath he bound himself to maintain unaltered all the rights
of the diocese. If he became a cardinal, he must defend these rights
before the Holy See at Rome, and, above all, the right of the Chapter
to elect the Bishops of Liége. He must not alienate any portion of
the Principality without the consent of the Chapter, nor suffer the
country to become tributary to any foreign State. His usual place of
residence must be within the Principality, and if he had to leave it
for a time he must return when his presence was deemed necessary in the
interests of the people. He must impose no taxes without the consent of
the three estates. He must not abandon any of the national strongholds,
and the commanders at such places as the castles of Bouillon, Huy, and
Dinant must be natives of the country. No foreigner might hold any
office of State; and the Privy Council must be composed of canons and
other persons who had taken the oath of fidelity to the Chapter. No
alliances must be made, no war declared, and no engagements of any kind
entered into with foreign Princes without leave from the Chapter.

These are only a few of the many obligations which were imposed upon
the Princes of Liége. Ernest of Bavaria swore to them all, but it was
soon apparent that it was impossible for the Principality to hold
aloof from all connection with external politics. By this time the
Reformation had triumphed in the greater part of Germany; but the House
of Bavaria remained firmly attached to the Catholic Church, and when
Gérard Truchses, Archbishop of Cologne, and William de Meurs, Bishop
of Münster, abandoned the old faith, the vacant Sees were conferred
on Prince Ernest, who thus not only held three bishoprics at the
same time, but had to defend his position by force of arms against
the Protestant princes. He spent most of his time in Germany, while
the Principality of Liége was entered by Spanish and Dutch troops,
who behaved with equal harshness to the inhabitants. A small party
of Dutchmen surprised the castle of Huy and took it, though without
any lives being lost on either side. Prince Ernest complained on the
ground that the Principality was neutral, but the Dutch replied, and
with perfect truth, that the neutrality of Liége was a mere pretence,
as the Bishop was an active partisan on the side of their enemies. He,
therefore, asked help from the Spaniards, by whom Huy was stormed and
recaptured after a stout resistance. But, on the whole, it appears
that, in spite of the strict orthodoxy of the Liégeois, the Catholics
were even more unpopular than the Protestants, for the Archduke Albert
having complained that the countryfolk showed more animosity against
his soldiers than against the Dutch, he was told that people generally
hated those most who did them most harm. Prince Ernest himself
spoke bitterly of the way in which money was extorted for the support
of the Spanish garrisons in the Ardennes.

[Illustration: THE ROMANESQUE CHURCH, HASTIÈRE]

It was not till the Twelve Years' Truce was concluded between the
'Archdukes' Albert and Isabella and the States-General that the
Principality was freed from the incursions of foreign troops. This was
in 1609. Three years later Ernest of Bavaria died, and was succeeded in
the episcopal thrones of Liége and Cologne by his nephew Ferdinand.


FOOTNOTES.

[Footnote 60: Érard's father was Robert, Prince of Sedan, Count of
Arenberg, la Marck, and Cleves, and brother of William de la Marck, the
Boar of Ardennes.]

[Footnote 61: It may be convenient to remind some readers that Charles
V.'s father was Philip, son of Maximilian and the Duchess Marie,
daughter of Charles the Bold, and that his mother was Joanna, daughter
of Ferdinand of Spain. On the death of Philip he succeeded to the
Netherlands, on the death of Ferdinand to Spain, and on the death of
Maximilian the Electors of Germany made him Emperor.]



CHAPTER XXIV

THE CHIROUX AND THE GRIGNOUX--THE TRAGIC BANQUET OF WARFUSÉE


Ferdinand of Bavaria's reign was one long quarrel with the magistrates
of Liége. He soon found that during his uncle's frequent absences in
Germany the burgomasters had usurped many powers which had hitherto
belonged to the Bishop. They issued their own decrees without his
authority, and sometimes cancelled his orders without consulting him.
They took upon themselves to appoint officers, to call the citizens to
arms, and to send representatives to foreign Courts. Their pretensions,
in short, had risen so high as to make it evident that they aimed at
nothing less than supreme power.

At last a time came when matters were brought to a crisis by the
election as burgomasters of two popular candidates, William Beeckmann
and Sébastien La Ruelle, whom the people insisted on choosing against
the wishes of Ferdinand, who had irritated the Liégeois by bringing
German and Spanish troops into the Principality to support his rights.
Beeckmann died suddenly. A rumour that he had been poisoned by the
Bishop's friends inflamed the passions of the mob, who listened eagerly
to La Ruelle when he told them that the intimate relations of their
Prince with Austria and Spain were dangerous to the independence of the
country.

There were at this time two factions in Liége--the 'Chiroux' and the
'Grignoux.' It appears that some young men of rank had returned from a
visit to Paris dressed in the latest fashion, with white stockings and
boots falling over their calves, which made the wits of the town say
that they were like a breed of swallows known as 'Chiroux.' One day,
at the Church of St. Lambert, some of the populace, seeing a party of
these dandies, called out, 'Chiroux! Chiroux!' The others answered back
with cries of 'Grignoux'--that is, _Grognards_, or malcontents. Hence
the nicknames. The Chiroux supported the Bishop, while the Grignoux
opposed him. The former were, like Ferdinand, for maintaining close
relations with Germany, while the latter were supposed to court a
friendship with the King of France. At this juncture we come across one
of the most curious episodes in the story of Liége.

[Illustration: LE PERRON LIÉGEOIS, LIÉGE]

A Baron de Pesche, who lived in the district between the Sambre and the
Meuse, having a lawsuit before the judges at Liége, requested one of
his kinsmen, the Abbé de Mouzon, a Frenchman, to manage the case. De
Mouzon, an acute man with a talent for political intrigue, made full
use of his opportunities, and soon knew all about the feud between the
Chiroux and the Grignoux, the existence of German and French factions,
and everything that was going on in Liége. He informed the Ministers
of Louis XIII. that the people of Liége were at heart favourable to
France, and that the ties which bound them to Germany could easily
be broken, as the Bishop was very seldom in the Principality, and
had no real influence with his subjects. He had, he told the French
Government, made friends with the most important men in the city, and
was in a position to render great services to France, provided he was
furnished with proper credentials. The result was that he received
a commission as French resident, or envoy, at Liége. He then paid
attentions to La Ruelle and his party, for the purpose of persuading
them to further the interests of France and break with Germany, and
played his part so well that the Chiroux leaders, becoming alarmed,
sent a message to the Bishop, advising him to be on his guard against
the intrigues of the French envoy and the Grignoux.

Ferdinand, on receiving this warning, despatched Count Louis of Nassau
to Liége with a letter to the magistrates, in which he reprimanded
them severely, and accused them of a treasonable correspondence with
France. La Ruelle answered in acrimonious terms, declaring that the
country was being ruined by German soldiers sent there by the Bishop.
To this Ferdinand replied that, as the Liégeois would not do their duty
as loyal subjects willingly, he would find means to compel them; and
presently an army of Imperial troops marched into the Principality, and
encamped near Liége.

And now a new actor comes upon the scene. The Count of Warfusée, who
had been employed in turn by Spain and Holland, and betrayed them both,
was at this time living in banishment at Liége. Posing as an adherent
of the French side, he secured the confidence of La Ruelle and the
Abbé de Mouzon, for both of whom he professed a warm friendship; but,
in reality, he was in correspondence with the Court at Brussels, and
had promised that, if a few soldiers were placed at his disposal, he
would crush the French party in Liége. On April 17, 1637, he gave a
dinner-party, to which La Ruelle, Abbé de Mouzon, and other guests were
invited. When La Ruelle arrived, accompanied by a young manservant
named Jaspar, Warfusée gave him a jovial greeting. Then, noticing
Jaspar, he exclaimed, 'Ah! there's my good friend; I know him well,'
and showed the way to the kitchen, saying: 'You must enjoy yourself
to-day, and drink to the health of Burgomaster La Ruelle.'

The company sat down to dinner in a room on the ground floor, the
windows of which had iron bars across them, and opened on a courtyard
in the middle of the building. Count Warfusée sat next the door, with
M. Marchand, an advocate, beside him. La Ruelle and the Abbé were on
the other side of the table. Baron de Saizan, a Frenchman, and several
other gentlemen were present, and also some ladies, among whom were the
Baroness de Saizan and Count Warfusée's four daughters. Every one was
in the highest spirits. The Count declared he felt so happy that he
intended to get drunk, and invited all the rest to follow his example.
Calling for big glasses, he challenged de Mouzon to a revel. The Abbé
proposed the health of the Most Christian King; and this toast was
duly drunk, the gentlemen rising, and uncovering their heads.

During the first course the merriment of the party increased; but
suddenly the Count's manner changed, and one of the company was
bantering him about his gravity, when, as the servants were bringing
in the second course, his _valet de chambre_ came and whispered in his
ear. Warfusée nodded, and immediately twenty soldiers, each holding a
drawn sword in one hand and a firelock in the other, entered the room,
bowed, and surrounded the table. The guests supposed that this was
some pleasantry devised for their amusement; and La Ruelle asked his
host what it meant. 'Nothing,' answered Warfusée--'do not move;' but
as he spoke a band of Spaniards appeared at the windows, and levelled
their muskets through the bars. Warfusée, pointing to Jaspar, who was
waiting on his master, ordered the soldiers to remove him. He was
seized and turned out of the room. The Count then shouted, 'Arrest the
burgomaster!'

'What? Arrest me?' exclaimed La Ruelle, rising and throwing his napkin
on the table.

'Yes, you,' replied Warfusée, 'and Abbé de Mouzon, and Baron de Saizan
also.'

The soldiers took La Ruelle, and dragged him out; and Warfusée,
shouting at the top of his voice, declared that he was acting under the
orders of the Emperor, and of His Royal Highness the Bishop. They had,
he said, borne long enough with the intrigues of the French, and the
authority of the Prince must be re-established. A scene of the wildest
confusion followed. Warfusée rushed into the courtyard, and loaded La
Ruelle with insults. 'Ropes, ropes for the burgomaster!' he shouted.
'Ah! you traitor! your heart is in my hands to-day. See, here are the
orders of the Prince'; and he pulled some papers out of his pocket.
'Make your peace with God, for you must die.' Jaspar, the servant,
who was standing near, already bound, is said to have exclaimed, when
he heard these words, 'Oh, master, have I not always said what would
happen?'

All in vain La Ruelle begged for mercy. Two Dominicans, sent for
to shrive the victim, implored the Count to pause; but 'Kill him,
kill him! Make haste. Lose no more time,' was his answer to their
entreaties, and to those of his own daughters, who besought him, with
tears, to spare the unfortunate man's life. Some of the soldiers
refused to touch the burgomaster, and told Warfusée to his face that
they were not assassins. But at last three Spaniards drew their
daggers, and stabbed La Ruelle repeatedly till he was dead.

His cries were heard in the room where De Mouzon, fearing that his own
last hour had come, was waiting with the other guests under guard of
the soldiers. The Dominicans entered; and all were crowding round them,
pouring out confessions and clamouring for absolution, when Warfusée
came to the door, and told them that the burgomaster was dead, and that
he had died repenting of his misdeeds, and seeking forgiveness from
God, the Emperor, and the Bishop. Having said this, he went away again.

In the meantime a report had spread through the town that something
unusual was happening. It was said that a band of Spanish soldiers
had been seen to cross the Meuse, and go to the Count of Warfusée's
house, where the burgomaster was known to be dining that day; and every
one suspected that they had been sent to arrest La Ruelle, De Mouzon,
Warfusée, and their friends. So a cousin of the burgomaster's went to
find out if this was the case. When he reached the door of the house he
found a crowd of people, who told him they had heard cries from within
and the clash of arms, and that there was a rumour that the burgo
master had been murdered. On hearing this, he knocked at the door,
which was opened by the Count, who let him enter with a few of his
friends.

[Illustration: LA VIEILLE BOUCHERIE, LIÉGE]

'Tell me, gentlemen,' said Warfusée, 'do you wish to be Spanish, or
French, or Dutch?'

'No,' they replied, 'we wish to remain what we are--neutrals and true
Liégeois.'

'What would you think,' the Count asked them, 'if you heard that La
Ruelle has sold your country to France?'

'We would not believe it,' they all replied.

'Do you know his signature?' Warfusée inquired, showing them some
documents.

'These are forgeries,' they told him.

'No matter!' exclaimed the Count; 'I had orders to kill La Ruelle.
He is already dead, and I hold Abbé de Mouzon and Baron de Saizan
prisoners. Would you like to see La Ruelle's body?'

To this they replied 'No,' and asked permission to leave the house.

By this time the news of the burgomaster's death was known in the
town, and a vast crowd had gathered in front of the house, shouting
'To arms!' and demanding admission. The Count ventured to open the
door, and allow the burgomaster's cousin and his friends to escape.
The noise increased, as the people knocked loudly at the door, and
uttered threats of vengeance upon the Count. Warfusée, now trembling in
every limb, pale and terror-stricken, ran hither and thither between
the courtyard and the garden, and at last hid himself in a room on the
upper story, just as an armed crowd of townsmen burst in, and forced
their way to where the soldiers were guarding Abbé de Mouzon and the
other prisoners. Baron de Saizan at once called on the Spaniards
to give up their weapons, and promised them quarter. They allowed
themselves to be disarmed; but the townsmen instantly attacked them.
There was a short, but desperate, struggle, during which the ladies,
cowering on the floor, protected themselves as best they could from the
musket-balls which flew about, and the sword-cuts which the infuriated
townsmen dealt in all directions. In a few minutes the Spaniards were
slain to the last man; and then some of the burghers, moved by pity,
led the daughters of Warfusée from the blood-stained house to the Hôtel
de Ville, where they obtained shelter.

Their father at this time was lying on a bed upstairs, where he was
soon discovered by La Ruelle's cousin, who had returned, and some of
the burghers, who dragged him down to the door of the house and threw
him out into the street. The mob rushed upon him, stabbed him, and beat
him to death with bludgeons, tore off his clothes, pulled him by the
feet to the market-place, hung him head downwards on the gallows, and
finally tore the dead body to pieces. A fire was lighted, his remains
were burned, and the ashes thrown into the Meuse.

Even this revenge did not quench the thirst for blood which consumed
the people of Liége. The advocate Marchand, who had been one of
Warfusée's guests, and another eminent citizen, Théodore Fléron, fell
under suspicion, and were slaughtered. It is said that one of those
who slew Fléron was so mad with rage that he flung himself on the dead
man's corpse, tore it with his teeth like a wild beast, and sucked
the blood. The church of the Carmelites, who were also suspected of
some guilty knowledge of Warfusée's plot, was sacked. The Rector of
the Jesuits was murdered, and the members of that society were driven
from the town. The mob went through the streets shouting, 'Death to
the Chiroux! Death to the priests!' A list was drawn up of suspected
persons, who were condemned, without trial, on a charge of having
conspired against the State; and many of the Chiroux faction were hung
on the gallows.

Such is the horrible story of the 'Tragic Banquet of Warfusée,' as
it is called in local history. The motive for the crime, as foolish
as it was brutal, was obviously the wish of Warfusée to gain, at any
cost, some credit with the Emperor, though there seems to be no proof
that either the Emperor or Ferdinand had really authorized the murder
of the burgomaster. Nor is there evidence to show that La Ruelle had
plotted to hand over the Principality to France. The only explanation
of Warfusée's extraordinary folly seems to be that he had entirely
misunderstood the sentiments of the Liégeois, and had under-estimated
the popularity of La Ruelle and the strength of the Grignoux faction.
Otherwise, desperate villain though he was, he would scarcely have
ventured to commit such a crime with no support save that of a few
soldiers.

[Illustration: THE EPISCOPAL PALACE--INNER COURT, LIÉGE]

A semblance of peace followed; but soon the feud between the Chiroux
and the Grignoux broke out again. Once more the Grignoux obtained the
upper hand. The Episcopal Palace was taken by the mob. Two hundred
citizens of the upper class were ordered into banishment; and when the
Bishop was on his way to Liége, hoping to restore order by peaceful
means, he was met by the news that the gates were closed against him.
He therefore sent his nephew, Prince Henry Maximilian of Bavaria,
with an army to reduce the town. In a skirmish near Jupille one of
the burgomasters was killed. The Grignoux lost heart, and opened the
gates. Then came a wholesale arrest of the popular leaders, four of
whom were executed. The mode of electing magistrates was altered, the
Bishop reserving to himself the right of nominating half of them. The
loyalists who had been banished were recalled. To overawe the people,
a citadel was built upon the high ridge above the town; and when
Ferdinand died, in 1650, the Principality was more at rest than it had
been for many years.



CHAPTER XXV

THE GAMING-TABLES AT SPA--THE FRENCH REVOLUTION--ANNEXATION OF THE
PRINCIPALITY


Already two Princes of Bavaria had been Bishops of Liége, and now a
third succeeded, Prince Maximilian Henry, who filled this uneasy throne
from 1650 to 1688.

During most of that time the armies of almost every nation in Europe
swept like a flood over the Principality; but the most important
transaction of Maximilian's reign was the establishment of a new system
for the election of magistrates. This system, which came into force
in November, 1684, and was known as the 'Réglement de Maximilien de
Bavière,' deprived the lower classes of that direct power of election
which they had so long abused, and divided it between the Bishops and
the middle class. The result of this measure was that there was quiet,
if not harmony, within the walls of Liége for the next hundred years.
During that period, from 1684 to 1784, the valley of the Meuse was
frequently the seat of war in the various campaigns of the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries.

More tranquil times came with the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748,
when the Austrian Netherlands were restored to the Empress Maria
Theresa. It was, indeed, only a calm between two storms. But for
some years the arts of peace flourished in the valley of the Meuse;
and side by side with a remarkable progress of industry and commerce
the intellectual activity of the people increased. An association,
called the 'Société d'Emulation,' was formed, chiefly for the study of
French literature; and soon the works of Voltaire, of Diderot, and of
d'Alembert were read by all classes. The clergy tried to forbid the
purchase of such books, but in vain. Amongst the working class the
favourite authors were those who attacked the clergy; and the writings
of Voltaire became so popular that secret meetings were held in many
of the country villages for the purpose of hearing them read aloud.
Thus, beneath the surface, the spirit of inquiry and free thought was
fostered. Already in France the first murmurs of the coming storm were
heard; and in Liége people began to speak about the 'rights of man,'
to question the dogmas of the Church, and to ridicule the priests at
whose feet their forefathers had knelt for so many hundred years.

While these new forces were gathering strength, César de Hoensbroeck,
one of the Canons of St. Lambert, became Bishop, on July 21, 1784. A
trifling dispute with which his reign began was the prelude to very
serious events. For many years a company called the 'Société Deleau'
had enjoyed a monopoly of the gaming-tables at Spa, under a grant
from the Bishops of Liége, to whom a third of the profits were paid.
In 1785 one Levoz, a citizen of Liége, opened a new gambling-house,
which he called the 'Club.' The Société Deleau protested against this
infringement of its monopoly. Levoz and his friends replied that by law
the Bishops had no right to grant a monopoly without the sanction of
the estates; and at last the case was laid before the Imperial Chamber
of the German Empire.

This petty quarrel, so trivial in its origin, had run its course
for more than two years, when suddenly it was raised into a grave
controversy by one of the partisans of Levoz, Nicolas Bassenge, who
published a series of letters in which he declared that the liberties
of the country were at stake. 'It is not,' he said, 'a mere question
about a game of hazard.' Which is to be supreme, he asked, the Prince
or the people? Who has the right to make laws or grant monopolies? The
chief of the State is not its master, but merely the instrument of the
national will. Others followed Bassenge in the same strain; and more
letters, fresh recriminations, hot words and angry answers, added fuel
to the fire.

Levoz, tired of waiting for a decision from the Imperial Chamber,
leased his Club to a manager, Paul Redouté, who opened it with dancing
added to the attractions of dice and cards. The Bishop sent 200
soldiers to Spa, who closed the Club tables, and forbade all gaming
except in the rooms to which he had granted the monopoly. A warrant
was issued for the arrest of Redouté and M. Ransonnet, who had fought
in the American War of Independence, and was now a leader among the
disaffected party in Liége. The latter fled to Brussels, where the
Brabant revolution against Joseph II. was approaching its climax,
and sent letters to Liége, in which he said that a plan was on foot
to establish a republic consisting of Brabant and the Principality
of Liége. Would it not, he asked, be a glorious work to confine the
Bishops to their Apostolic mission, as in the days of St. Hubert?
Words like these made a deep impression at a time when the old
influences of tradition and custom were beginning to lose their force.

[Illustration: PONT DU PROPHÈTE, PROMENADE MEYERBEER, SPA WOODS]

In the spring and summer of 1789 there was much suffering among the
poor, owing to a bad season; and the Bishop arranged to celebrate July
21, the anniversary of his election, by a distribution of bread among
the destitute. But before July 21 came, horsemen had galloped up the
Valley of the Meuse with tidings of the wonderful things which had been
done in France. 'Workers of iniquity,' Bassenge wrote, 'behold Paris,
and tremble!'

The Bastille had fallen on July 14, and a month later almost to a day,
on August 16, the revolution in Liége began. For two days the people
did nothing but march about the streets; but very early on the morning
of Tuesday the 18th the tocsin was sounding over the town, and soon
the market-place was filled by an immense crowd, all wearing cockades
of red and yellow, the national colours. Baron de Chestret marched at
the head of 200 armed men into the Hôtel de Ville, and expelled the
burgomasters. This was followed by the election, at the famous Perron,
of new burgomasters, one of them being Baron de Chestret, who, later in
the day, went with a number of the insurgents to the Bishop's palace
at Seraing, and demanded his presence in the city, and his written
approval of what had been done. The Bishop, adorned with a red and
yellow cockade, was hurried to Liége by the mob, who crowded round his
carriage, shouting, blowing trumpets, and beating drums. The horses
were taken out, and the rioters drew him to the Hôtel de Ville, and
brought him into a room where the light of a single candle showed a
number of men waiting for him sword in hand. A threatening voice came
from the darkness, saying, 'The nation demands your signature. Make
haste!' and the Bishop forthwith signed a number of documents which
were placed before him, without waiting to read the contents. On
the morrow he returned to Seraing; but a few days later he departed
secretly for Tréves.

For nearly two years the Imperial Chamber was occupied with the
question of Liége; but at last, when the revolution in Brabant had been
suppressed, an Austrian army entered the Principality. Everything which
the revolutionary party had done since August 18, 1789, was declared
null and void. The burgomasters who had been expelled were restored to
office. Those Canons of St. Lambert who had fled were brought back, and
the Bishop himself returned. The Société d'Emulation, which had done
so much to encourage the study of Voltaire, was suppressed. Sentences
of banishment, and even of death, were pronounced against some of those
who had led the revolt; and there can be little doubt that Bishop
Hoensbroeck earned the title of 'prêtre sanguinaire,' which was given
him at the Courts of Berlin and Vienna. He died in June, 1792; and
in August of that year his nephew, the Comte de Méan, was elected by
the Chapter. But before the new Bishop's inauguration the army of the
French Republic, fresh from its victory at Jemappes, having driven
the Austrians beyond the Meuse, took possession of Liége. This was on
November 28, 1792.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dumouriez, who had entered Brussels without opposition, received a
hearty welcome at Liége, where the popular sentiment was in favour of
an union with France; and in every part of the Principality resolutions
were passed for incorporating the country with the Republic. It is said
that, shortly before August 18, 1789, Mirabeau dined at Liége with
Bassenge and some of the revolutionary leaders, when the conversation
turned on the affair of Spa. The constitution of Liége was explained
to him. 'And you are not contented with that?' he said. 'Gentlemen, let
me tell you that if in France we had enjoyed half your privileges, we
would have thought ourselves happy.' But there had always been a charm
in the word 'Republic' for the people of Liége. 'Men of Liége,' said
Nicolas Bassenge, when the National Convention at Paris decreed the
annexation of the Netherlands, 'our lot is fixed: we are French. To
live or die Frenchmen is the wish of our hearts, and no wish was ever
so pure, so earnest, or so unanimous.'

Thomas Bassenge, brother of Nicolas, was at this time a member of the
Municipal Council of Liége; and in February, 1793, he persuaded the
magistrates to celebrate the revolution by destroying the Cathedral
of St. Lambert, which stood near the Episcopal Palace of Érard de la
Marck. The front of this church, the finest ecclesiastical building
in the Principality, was a mass of elaborate carving. Statues of
angels and archangels, of patriarchs and prophets, of martyrs and of
saints, rose one above the other, and over them innumerable pinnacles
were interlaced by a maze of slender arches, crossing each other
with tracery so delicate as almost to resemble lace. Beneath this
profusion of stonework the great doorway was adorned with marble
statues of the benefactors of the church from the chisel of Lambert
Zoutman, a sculptor of Liége; and in the interior of the building,
with its marble columns and windows of old stained glass, were many
paintings, the tombs of the Bishops, rich tapestries, a jewelled bust
of Lambert, and many objects of value, amongst which were two golden
statues sent by Charles the Bold to the shrine of the patron saint, as
an act of expiation after he had destroyed the town. This building,
which had survived the great disaster of the fifteenth century, was
now completely wrecked. The statues and the monuments were cast down.
The mausoleum of Érard de la Marck was sold and broken up. The graves
were opened, the bones thrown out, and the lead of the coffins used for
bullets. The clocks were sent up the Meuse in barges to France, and
there turned into copper money. Everything valuable was removed, and
soon nothing remained but the bare walls, which in a few years crumbled
into ruins. Thus the long line of the Bishop-Princes of Liége, and the
place in which for centuries they had been inaugurated, fell together.



CHAPTER XXVI

LIÉGE AND THE VALLEY OF THE MEUSE IN MODERN TIMES--BOUILLON


The territory which the Bishops had governed was now merged in four
of the nine departments into which the National Convention divided
the annexed Austrian Netherlands. The department of 'Forêts,' with
Luxembourg for its capital, included the Ardennes. The western portion
of the old diocese was sunk in 'Sambre et Meuse,' of which Namur
was the chief town. 'Ourthe' was the name given to the district in
which Liége was situated. To the east lay the department of 'Meuse
Inférieure,' with Maestricht for its capital. Thus the old boundaries
of the Principality were entirely obliterated. The Convention conferred
the rights of French citizens on the people of these districts, and
commissioners were sent from Paris to divide the country into cantons,
and establish a new system of local administration on the French model.

The departments of Forêts, Sambre et Meuse, Ourthe, and Meuse
Inférieure were in the same condition as the rest of Belgium during
the closing years of the eighteenth century and down to the fall
of Napoleon. After that they formed part of the 'Kingdom of the
Netherlands,' under the House of Orange-Nassau, and were called the
provinces of Luxembourg, Namur, Liége, and Limbourg.

When the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the chief constructive work
accomplished by the Congress of Vienna, fell to pieces in 1830, the
Liégeois went with the rest of Belgium in the revolution against
William I. As soon as they heard of the insurrection at Brussels, the
townsmen of Liége met, as of old, in the market-place, put on the
national colours, and helped themselves to weapons from the armourers'
shops. A company of 300 volunteers, with two pieces of cannon, marched
across Brabant into Brussels, and took a prominent part in the street
fighting, which ended in the retreat of the Dutch troops, and the
triumph of the revolution which led to the separation of the Catholic
Netherlands from Holland, and the election of Leopold I. as King of
Belgium.

[Illustration: PONT DE JAMBES ET CITADELLE, NAMUR]

Long ago, in the days of Prince Maximilian of Bavaria, a fortress was
built on the only bridge which at that time crossed the Meuse at
Liége. This fortress, armed with cannon which could sweep both sides of
the river, left only one narrow waterway, nicknamed 'The Dardanelles,'
by which boats could pass up and down the stream. It has long since
disappeared, and the present Pont des Arches now occupies the sight
of the old bridge. The irregular outline of the houses on the bank
of the Meuse, with their fronts of grey, white, and red, the church
towers appearing over the roofs of the town behind, and the ridge of
the citadel rising high in the background, are best seen from the Pont
des Arches, from which the modern Rue Leopold leads straight into the
very heart of Liége, to the place on which the Cathedral of St. Lambert
stood. It is just a century since the last stones of the old church
were carted away; and now the Place St. Lambert, like the Place Verte,
which opens on it from the west, and the market-place, which is a few
yards to the east, has a bright look of business and prosperity, with
its shops and cafés.

The Episcopal Palace, now the Palais de Justice, the erection of
which took thirty years during the commencement of the sixteenth
century, has undergone many alterations since the days of Érard de
la Marck. Two hundred years after it was finished a fire destroyed
the original front, which had to be rebuilt, and the rest of the vast
structure was restored in the nineteenth century. The primitive façade
has been replaced by one moulded on severely classic lines; but the
inner squares, with their picturesque cloisters, are strangely rich
in types of every style, a medley of Gothic, Renaissance, Moorish,
as if symbolic of the vicissitudes undergone by the Bishop-Princes
who inhabited this immense building. Most of the grotesque carvings,
the demons in stone, and the fantastic figures which surround these
courts, were conceived by the luxuriant imagination of Francis Borset,
a sculptor of Liége.

Close to the Episcopal Palace is the market-place, where so many of
the scenes described in these pages took place, and where now stands
the modern Perron, designed by Delcour at the end of the seventeenth
century to replace the old column, at the foot of which the laws of the
Principality, peace, or war used to be proclaimed. There is nothing
about it to recall the history of the stormy times when Charles the
Bold carried it off into Flanders; but the tradition of the ancient
Perron still survives.

At Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Louvain, the Hôtels de Ville retain
their aspect of the Middle Ages, when they were the centres of
that passionate civic life which throbs through all the history of
the Netherlands. But the Hôtel de Ville of Liége is modern, of the
eighteenth century. It would make a commodious private mansion, but has
nothing in common with the architectural gems which adorn the great
cities of Flanders and Brabant.

This lack of architectural distinction is characteristic of modern
Liége. The hammers of the French Revolution, in destroying the
Cathedral of St. Lambert, completed what the fires of Charles the
Bold began, and of the really old Liége almost nothing remains. But
the fiery spirit which once led to so many wars and revolutions now
finds an outlet in useful work. The industrious character of the
Walloons is perhaps most highly developed in other Walloon parts of
Belgium--among the carpet factories of Tournai, the iron-works of
Charleroi, the flax-works of Courtrai, and in the coal-mines of the
Borinage, which blacken the landscape for miles round Mons. But the
people of Liége have always been famous for their skill in working
steel and iron. In the old days they forged the weapons of war which
they used so often; and at the present time there are in the town many
flourishing companies who turn out large quantities of guns, engines,
and machinery, while up the Meuse there are coal-mines, furnaces, and
factories, where the Walloons toil as laboriously as in Hainaut.

In the year after Waterloo William I. and John Cockerill, an
Englishman, established iron-works at Seraing, within a few miles of
Liége. In 1830, when the Kingdom of the Netherlands was broken up,
Cockerill became owner of the business, which has grown since then,
until it is now one of the largest iron manufactories in Europe, with
some twelve thousand workmen constantly employed in its coal-mines and
engine-works. The Palace at Seraing, from which Bishop Hoensbroeck was
carried by the revolutionary mob to the Hôtel de Ville at Liége in
the summer of 1789, is now the office of the well-known firm of John
Cockerill and Company.

[Illustration: CHÂTEAU DE BOUILLON, IN THE SEMOIS VALLEY]

Beyond Seraing the Valley of the Meuse winds up through the centre of
what was once the Principality of Liége, and at every turn there is
something which recalls the olden time. The white Château of Aigremont,
where the Wild Boar of Ardennes used to live, stands boldly on its
hilltop on the left bank of the river. A little farther, and we
come to the Condroz country, with its capital Ciney, notorious for the
insane 'War of the Cow,' and Huy, with the grave of Peter the Hermit,
and its long history of suffering. The whole valley is so peaceful now,
full of quiet villages, gardens, hay-fields, and well-cultivated land,
that it is difficult to realize that for centuries it was nothing but
a battlefield, and that in these regions the people suffered almost as
much from the depredations of their friends as from the enemy, even
long after the barbarism of the Burgundian period was a thing of the
past. 'We have,' says Field-Marshal de Merode, during the campaigns of
Louis XIV., 'eighteen miserable regiments of infantry, and fourteen of
cavalry and dragoons, who are just six thousand beggars or thieves,
for they have neither money nor clothing, and live by plunder on the
highways, stopping public and private coaches, robbing travellers, or,
pistol in hand, demanding at least a _pour boire_. Nobody can go from
one place to another without meeting them, which ruins business and the
whole country.'

The situation of Namur, at the junction of the Sambre and the Meuse,
made it a place of great importance in every war, not only in the
Middle Ages, but also in later times. When the Grand Alliance was
formed against France, it was in Brabant that the main body of the
Allies gathered; but before long the tide of war rolled into the Valley
of the Meuse. Liége was bombarded for five days by Marshal Boufflers,
and the Bishop, from his place of refuge in the citadel, saw the
Hôtel de Ville and half the town set on fire by the shells which flew
over the river from the French batteries on the Chartreuse. As the
struggle went on, Huy was destroyed by Marshal Villeroi, Namur fell
into the hands of Louis XIV., and farther afield it seemed as if no
city, however strong, could stand a siege against the genius of Vauban,
while the victories at Steinkirk and Landen made the arms of France
appear invincible. But at last, in 1695, came the siege and capture
of Namur by William III. The taking of Namur was the turning-point of
that war, and led to the Treaty of Ryswick, by which Spain recovered
Luxembourg, and all the conquests which the King of France had made in
the Netherlands.

Again, when the War of the Spanish Succession began, the English army,
on its way to Germany, marched into the Principality of Liége, took
the town and citadel of Liége, drove the French over the Meuse, and
carried the war to Blenheim on the Danube. But though the first of
Marlborough's chief victories was thus gained in Bavaria, the second
of his four great battles was fought to obtain command of the way to
Namur. Marshal Villeroi's object in giving battle at Ramillies was to
protect that town, which he regarded as the key to the Valley of the
Meuse; but fortune had deserted France, and the combat of May 23, 1706,
decided the fate not only of the Principality of Liége, but of all
Belgium, though the war continued through the carnage of Oudenarde and
Malplaquet, till the Peace of Utrecht.

Even now the shadow of a possible war overhangs this part of Europe;
and if those who think that, sooner or later, the neutrality of Belgium
will be violated are right, it is very likely that the line of the
Meuse, with its navigable stream, its railway, and its roads, so well
adapted for military purposes, will be used. It is in view of this
danger that the fortifications along the valley are maintained. Within
a radius of six miles round Liége there are twelve forts. The citadel
of Huy, planned by William I. soon after the campaign of Waterloo, was
enlarged and made stronger so lately as 1892. Namur is surrounded by
nine forts at a distance of about six miles from the town; and the
citadel of Dinant forms an outpost to the south-west.

The last occasion on which any part of Belgium, so long the 'Cockpit
of Europe,' had a glimpse of war was in the autumn of 1870. The battle
of Sedan had been fought within a few miles from the southern slopes
of the Ardennes, and during September 3 thousands of wounded men and
prisoners from the beaten army were crowded in Bouillon, a little town
which lies in the gorge of the Semois, just over the Belgian frontier.

This place was once the capital of a Duchy. On a lofty rock, almost
surrounded by the dark, brown waters of the many-winding Semois,
stands the ruined castle of the Dukes of Bouillon, a large pile of
grey walls and towers, which gives some idea of the immense strength
of the fortresses which, even in the remote forest-land of Ardennes,
the feudal lords built for themselves. The age of this stronghold is
unknown, but there seems reason to believe that a fort was erected on
this rock by the Princes of Ardennes so early as the seventh century.
In the eleventh century it was ceded to the Principality of Liége by
the famous Crusader Godfrey of Bouillon; but this part of the Ardennes,
on the borders of France and Luxembourg, was a kind of 'Debatable
Land,' and there were frequent struggles for the Duchy between the
Bishops of Liége and the family of de la Marck. The Wild Boar of
Ardennes obtained possession of it, and his son usurped the title of
Duke of Bouillon; but one of his descendants having incurred the wrath
of Charles V., the castle was taken, the town sacked, and the Duchy
restored to the Bishops of Liége. They retained it till it fell into
the hands of Louis XIV., by whom it was given to the family of La Tour
d'Auvergne, the representatives of the de la Marcks. It became a small
Republic after the French Revolution, but was included in the Kingdom
of the Netherlands from 1815 to 1830. Since then it has formed part of
Belgian Luxembourg.

Bouillon, with its mountains and woods, and its romantic ruin, being
one of the loveliest spots in the Ardennes, soon became a favourite
place for holiday-makers, and had for many years a peaceful existence
before the storm burst so near it in that eventful year 1870. 'I was
there,' M. Camille Lemonnier says, 'in the midst of the _débâcle_, and,
sick at heart, and in the horror of those days, wrote these words:
"A furious coming and going filled the streets. We found the _Place_
crowded with townspeople, peasants, lancers, prisoners, and wounded
men struggling among the horses' hoofs, the wheels of wagons, and the
feet of the stretcher-bearers. A horrible noise rose in the darkness
of the evening from this tumultuous crowd, who moved aimlessly about,
with staring eyes, lost in agony, and scarcely knowing what they did. A
stupor seemed to weigh on every brain; and all round, looking down on
the seething mass, lights twinkled in the windows of the houses. Behind
the white blinds of one house, the Hôtel de la Poste, at the corner to
the left of the bridge, a restless shadow moved about all night long.
It was the shadow of the last Bonaparte, watching, and a prisoner,
while near him the frantic cries wrung by defeat from the wreckage of
the French army died away in sobs and spasms."'

Next morning Napoleon III., who had spent the night in the Hôtel de la
Poste, left with a guard of Prussian officers, climbed up the road,
through the woods which lie between the valleys of the Semois and the
Lesse, to Libramont, whence he journeyed by train to Wilhelmshoe.

Since then Bouillon has returned to the quiet times which preceded the
Franco-German War; but that student of history must have a very dull
imagination who does not find much to think of in this narrow valley,
on the frontiers of Belgium and France, where the past and the present
meet, the day when Duke Godfrey rode off to plant his standard on the
walls of Jerusalem, and the day when his castle looked down on the
humiliation of the ruler who began his reign by making war about the
Holy Places of Palestine.



  INDEX


  Abbé de Mouzon, 341, 342, 343, 344

  Abbey of the Dunes, 152-156;
    of Melrose, 153

  Abbey of St. Bavon, 170, 171

  Adinkerque, 141, 156

  'Adoration of the Immaculate Lamb,' 61, 171

  Aigremont, Castle of, 315, 368

  Aix-la-Chapelle, churches of, enriched, 284;
    Peace of, 354

  Albert, Archduke, 336, 337

  Albert, Archduke, portrait at Furnes, 112;
    at the Battle of the Dunes, 119, 124, 126;
    marries the Infanta Isabella, 120;
    character of, 12, 122;
    wounded, 126

  Albert de Cuyck made Bishop of Liége, 289;
    grants a charter to Liége, 290, 291, 296, 297

  Albert de Louvain, 289

  Albert, Prince, at Bruges, 72

  Alexander, Emperor of Russia, 233

  Allée Verte, 203

  Alost, 175

  Alpaïde, 281

  Alva, 249, 250, 329

  Amandus, St., 170

  Amsterdam, 250

  Anoona, Bishop of, 31

  Anderlecht, 196

  André, St., village of, 21

  Androuins, M., 205

  Ane Aveugle. Rue de l', 13, 15, 21

  Angelo, Michael, 26

  Anglaises, Couvent des Dames, 23

  Anna Paulowna, Grand Duchess, 233, 234

  Anna, wife of William the Silent, 257

  Anseremme, 274

  Antoine, Duke of Brabant, 187

  Antwerp: in the sixteenth century, 244, 245;
    cathedral sacked, 247, 248;
    the Spanish Fury, 248, 249;
    besieged in 1585, 250 _et seq._;
    reformers at, 253;
    trade goes to Amsterdam, 250;
    fall of, 254;
    Napoleon at, in 1803, 264;
    Orange party in 1830, 265;
    bombarded in 1830, 265, 266;
    state of, in 1803, 243;
    surrendered by Carnot, 224;
    proposal to strengthen fortifications of, 268;
    Cathedral, 245, 266;
    Church of St. Michael, 266;
    Grande Place, 246, 249;
    Hôtel de Ville, 249, 251;
    Marché du Vendredi, 260, 261;
    Rue de la Bascule, 258;
    Rue du Couvent, 258;
    Place Verte, 260, 266;
    Place de Meir, 257, 259;
    Rue Rubens, 258;
    Rue Sale, 258;
    Rue de Tournai, 253;
    Statue of Rubens, 260;
    Vleechhuis, or Vieille Boucherie, 246;
    walls of, 245;
    Wappers, 258;
    Cathedral of, 25, 60, 96

  Aquitaine, Duke of, 280

  Archduke Maximilian, 167
  Archdukes Albert and Isabella, 256, 258, 259

  Ardennes, state of, in the feudal period, 285, 286

  Arenberg, Duc d', 192, 221

  Arenberg, family of, 314, 325

  Arlon, 273

  Arschot, Duc d', 123

  Artevelde, Jacques van, 53, 111, 166, 169

  Artevelde, Philip van, 59, 92

  Artois, Comte d', 46, 47, 231

  Auber, 238

  Augustinian Nuns, 23

  Austrian Netherlands restored to the Empress Maria Theresa, 354;
    annexed to France, 363


  Baldwin, Bras-de-Fer, real founder of Bruges, 12;
    defends Flanders, 13;
    marries Judith, 12;
    builds Church of St. Donatian, 13, 165

  Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, 29

  Baldwin of Constantinople, 131

  Baldwin VII., 16

  Bannockburn, 46

  Bardi, money-changers at Bruges, 58

  Bassenge, Nicolas, 355, 357, 359, 360

  Bassenge, Thomas, 360

  Bassin de Commerce at Bruges, 50

  Bastille, fall of, in 1789, 357

  Battle of the Dunes, 119 _et seq._

  Battle of the Golden Spurs, 39 _et seq._, 46

  Beaufort, Jean de, 292

  Beeckmann, William, 339, 340

  Beggars, The, 190, 191

  Béguinage at Bruges, 23;
    grove of, 7

  Béguinage at Ghent, 169

  Béhuchet, Nicholas, 55, 56, 64

  Belfry of Bruges, 5, 6, 7, 9, 173;
    of Ghent, 173;
    of Brussels, 198

  Belgian Parliament passes law for harbour near Heyst, 80

  Berlaimont, 189, 190

  Berlaimont, Comte Florent de, 123

  Bernard, St., of Clairvaux, 28

  Berri, Duc de, 231

  Bertulf, Provost of St. Donatian, 17

  Bexley, 155

  Bicycles, import duty on, 85

  'Bird of Honour,' 72, 73

  Black Watch, 229

  Blankenberghe, new harbour near, 80;
    English fleet at, in 1340, 54, 135, 136

  Blenheim, 371

  Blyde Incompste, 182

  Bois-le-Duc, 177

  Bombarda, Jean Paul, 202

  Boniface VIII., 43

  'Bonnes Villes' of Flanders, 174

  Borluut, Madame, 227

  Borset, Francis, 366

  Borthwick, Colonel, 68

  Boterbeke, 8, 9

  Bouchoute, Hôtel de, 4

  Bouillon, 287, 288, 372, 373, 374

  Bouisies, Comte de, 227

  Bourg, Place du, at Bruges, 13, 14, 15

  Bourignon, Antoinette, 196

  Brabant, Duke of, supports Simon de Limbourg, 289;
    joins in the War of the Cow, 292, 293;
    Joyeuse Entrée of, 291;
    revolution of, 356, 358

  Brabant: present boundary, 175;
    frontiers in ancient times, 176;
    four chief towns of, 177;
    spirit of union, 181;
    Joyeuse Entrée, 182 _et seq._;
    States of, 185;
    Council of, 186;
    Dukes of, their tomb violated, 200, 201;
    Revolution of, 209 _et seq._

  Brangwyn, William, 32

  Brant, Jean, 258; Isabelle, 258

  Bréderode, 190, 191, 329
  Breidel, John, 39, 42, 44, 46

  Breskens, 61

  Brialmont, General, 228

  Bristol, Earl of, at Bruges, 67

  Brodhuis, the, 198, 207, 215

  Bruges, 163, 164, 173, 174, 177, 189, 244

  Bruges, described by John of Ypres, 8, 9;
    origin of name, 9;
    primitive township of, 10;
    boundaries in early times, 10;
    Market-Place, 4, 5, 39;
    Halles, 5;
    early trade, 10;
    the Loove at, 18;
    growth of, 16;
    capital of West Flanders, 12;
    Baldwin Bras-de-Fer its real founder, 12;
    Place du Bourg, 13;
    murder of Charles the Good, 16;
    Joanna of Navarre at, 40;
    death of Marie, wife of Maximilian, 26;
    Hôtel de Ville, 59;
    Customs House, 49;
    Oriental appearance in Middle Ages, 65;
    produce sent to, in Middle Ages, 57;
    Hanseatic League at, 58;
    Consulates at, 58;
    splendour of, in Middle Ages, 59, 60;
    under the House of Burgundy, 60;
    loss of trade, 60, 61;
    pauperism, 64;
    Charles II. at, 65 _et seq._;
    list of Charles II.'s household at, 67;
    death of Catherine of Braganza at, 23;
    fate of Church at French Revolution, 76;
    Napoleon at, 32;
    state of, since Revolution of 1830, 76;
    English Jesuits at, 75;
    Queen Victoria at, 72;
    relic of Holy Blood at, 28 _et seq._;
    Procession of the Holy Blood, 32 _et seq._;
    relic of the Holy Cross, 26;
    tournament at, 306;
    Charles the Bold buried at, 312

  Bruges Matins, 15, 39

  Brussels, contrast to Flemish towns, 175;
    in the Middle Ages, 177, 181;
    increase of wealth and luxury, 178;
    Wencelas at, 186;
    under the House of Burgundy, 187;
    during the reign of Charles V., 190;
    executions of Egmont and Horn, 170, 200;
    entry of the Infanta Isabella and Archduke Albert, 195;
    bombardment of 1695, 195 _et seq._;
    Charles of Lorraine at, 203 _et seq._;
    scene in the Grande Place in 1789, 215;
    entered by the Austrians in 1790, 218,
      by the allies in 1814, 223;
    Jacobin clubs, 221;
    Napoleon at, 222, 223;
    during the winter of 1814-15, 225;
    in June 1815, 228 _et seq._;
    Revolution of 1830, 238 _et seq._;
    Allée Verte, 203;
    Boulevard du Midi, 180,
      de Waterloo, 180;
    Brodhuis, 198, 208, 215;
    Burgundian Library, 188;
    Coudenberg, 177;
    Church of the Carmelites, 187, 198;
    Communal Museum, 200;
    Grande Place, 176, 198;
    Hôtel de France, 226;
    Hôtel de Ville, 59, 176, 188, 198, 207;
    La Chaussée, 191;
    l'Etoile, 199;
    le Cygne, 199;
    Manneken, 217, 222;
    Maison des Brasseurs, 199;
    Mint House, 202;
    Montagne de la Cour, 191, 197;
    Notre Dame de la Chapelle, 180;
    Notre Dame du Sablon, 180;
    Place de la Monnaie, 202, 224, 239;
    Porte de Louvain, 224;
    Porte de Hal, 180, 196;
    Porte de Laeken, 204;
    Porto de Namur, 196, 230;
    Rue de la Blanchisserie, 228;
    Rue des Fripiers, 224;
    Rue de la Montagne du Parc, 226;
    Rue de Namur, 229;
    Rue des Petits Cannes, 191;
    Rue Royale, 226, 240;
    Ste. Gudule, 180, 200, 201;
    St. Nicholas, 176, 198;
    Théatre de la Monnaie, 201, 206, 216, 223;
    Charles II. at, 71;
    Church of Ste. Gudule, 26

  Burchard, 17, 18, 19
  Burgundian Library, 188

  Burgundy, Charles, Duke of, 26

  Burgundy, House of, 95, 187, 189;
    in the fifteenth century, 296;
    hated by the Liégeois, 297

  Burnet, Bishop, 70

  Butler, Mr. J., 69, 70


  Caen, 260

  Caine, Mr. Hall, 135

  'Cairless,' Mr., 67

  Caisse de Religion, 211

  Cambrai, 176

  Camolet, Jean, 328

  Campo Formio, 264

  Capucins, Chapel of, at Furnes, 114

  Carmelites, Church of, at Liége, sacked, 349

  Carnot, 224, 265

  Carthusian Monastery at Ghent, 167

  Casa Negra, 77

  Catalani, 231

  Cathedral of Antwerp, 26

  Cathedral of St. Martin at Ypres, 122

  Cathedral of St. Sauveur at Bruges, 26, 33, 76

  Catherine of Braganza, 23

  Catholics unpopular at Liége, 336

  Celestine III., 155

  Chabot, 220

  Chapel of the Capucins at Furnes, 114

  Chapelle du Saint-Sang (St. Basil's) at Bruges, 28, 31, 33, 76

  Charlemagne, 11, 281

  Charleroi, 228, 232

  Charles II. of England at Bruges, 65 _et seq._

  Charles the Bald, 11

  Charles the Bold, 26, 187, 188, 189;
    destroys Dinant, 301;
    becomes Duke of Burgundy, 301;
    enters Liége and issues a decree, 302, 303;
    marries Margaret of York, 306;
    imprisons Louis XI. at Peronne, 306;
    marches with Louis XI. to Liége and destroys the town, 307, 308, 309;
    his death, 311;
    burial at Nancy, 311;
    final burial at Bruges, 312

  Charles the Good, 16-22

  Charles IV. of Luxembourg, 182

  Charles V., 121, 170, 172, 190, 245;
    is chosen Emperor, 326;
    takes Bouillon, 373

  Charles VI., 100

  Charles of Lorraine, 199, 203 _et seq._, 221

  Charles X., 238

  Charles, M., advocate, 221

  Charlotte, Princess, 234

  Charter of Albert de Cuyck, 296, 297

  Chartreuse, at Liége, 316

  Chassé, General, 265

  Chateaubriand, 230, 231

  Château des Comtes at Ghent, 166

  Chatillon, Conference of, 264, 265

  Châtillon, Jacques de, 42, 43, 44-47

  Chaudfontaine, 282

  Chemins-de-fer Vicinaux, 84

  Chester, Baron de, 357

  Chèvremont, 282

  Chiroux and Grignoux factions, 340

  Church of Jerusalem at Bruges, 26

  Church of Notre Dame at Bruges, 76

  Church of St. Donatian at Bruges, 76

  Church of Ste. Walburge, 78, 110

  Ciney, 292, 293, 295, 369

  Cistercians, 154, 155

  Citadel of Liége built, 351;
    taken by the English, 370

  Clairvaux, 28

  Clauwerts, 15, 40, 181

  Clement V., 30

  Clement VII., 93
  Clermont, Count of, 288

  Cloth Hall of Ghent, 173

  Cockerill and Co., 368

  Collège Philosophique, 236

  Cologne, 66, 69, 257

  Colonna, Jean Baptiste, 311

  Comte de Charolais (Charles the Bold), 300

  Comte de la Hanse, 58

  Condroz, 292, 369

  Conference of Chatillon, 264, 265;
    of London, 242, 268

  Congress of Ghent, 170

  Congress of Vienna, 101, 225, 242, 364

  Coninck, Peter de, 39, 41, 42, 44, 46

  Constitution of Belgium, 1831, 242

  Consulate of France, 78;
    of Spain, 8;
    of Smyrna, 77

  Convention (French), 219, 222, 263;
    of The Hague, 264

  Coolkerke, 62

  Cossacks in Brussels, 224

  Coudenburg, 177, 188

  Cour des Princes at Ghent, 167

  Court of Peace, 287, _et seq._

  Courtrai, 46, 84

  Couvent des Dames Anglaises, 7, 23, 72

  Coxyde, 152-154

  Cranenberg, 4

  Crecy, Battle of, 55

  Creevy, Mr., at Brussels in 1815, 229

  Cromwell, 66, 69, 74

  Cumberland Hussars, 230

  Customs House at Bruges, 49

  Cuyck, Albert de, 289, 290, 291, 296, 297


  Dalgetty, Dugald, 67

  Dame de Bellem, 213

  Damme, 10, 42, 43, 44, 49 _et seq._, 306;
    population of, 51;
    Röles de, 58;
    harbour blocked up, 61

  Dampierre, Guy de, 40

  Danton, 219

  Dardanelles (at Liége), 365

  David, Gerard, 60

  Denderleeuw, 175

  Dendre, the River, 175

  Deprysenaere, Jean, of Ypres, 105

  Desmoulins, Camille, 220

  Diderot, 354

  Diet of Frankfort (1519), 326

  Diet of Worms (1495), 323

  _Digues de mer_, construction of, 139, 140

  Dinant, situation of, 274;
    people of, invade Namur and Luxembourg, 293;
    declares war against Namur, 300;
    destroyed by Charles the Bold, 301;
    citadel rebuilt, 327;
    now part of fortifications on the Meuse, 372

  Donatian, Church of St., built by Baldwin Bras-de-Fer, 13;
    Bertulf, Provost of, 17;
    site of, 14;
    murder of Charles the Good in, 15;
    destroyed, 76

  Don John of Austria, 66, 69

  Dordrecht, 26, 27

  Duinbergen, 54, 148, 149

  Dumouriez, 220;
    welcomed at Liége, 359

  Dunes, Battle of the, 119;
    scenery of, 157 _et seq._

  Durancy, Mademoiselle, 205

  Dyle, the River, 183

  Dyver, the, at Bruges, 9, 10


  Edward III., 53-55, 58;
    at Ghent, 166

  Edward IV., 26

  Egmont, Count, 98, 168, 170, 200

  Elba, 224

  Elias, sixth Abbot of Coxyde, 154

  Enghien, 196

  English competition with Flemish trade, 178;
    with German, 267

  English Merchant Adventurers, 78

  Erard de la Marck, 325 _et seq._
  Erembalds, 16 _et seq._;
    feud with Straetens, 17;
    destruction of, 21

  Ernest, Archduke, 193

  Ernest of Bavaria, 331 _et seq._

  Ethelbald, 12

  Ethelwulf, husband of Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, 12

  Evendyck, 131

  Everard de la Mark, 322, 323

  Eyck, van, elder and younger, 14, 21, 60, 49, 129, 171


  Ferdinand of Bavaria, 337, 339

  Ferdinand of Spain, 190

  Flanders, Count of, opposes Simon de Limbourg, 289;
    joins in the War of the Cow, 293

  Flanders, state of, in early times, 7, 8;
    invaded by Normans, 11, 12;
    origin of title 'Count of,' 14;
    defended by Baldwin Bras-de-Fer, 13;
    allied to England, 54;
    neutrality of, in 1340 and 1830, 53;
    invaded by French, 59;
    plain of, 83 _et seq._;
    ignorance of country people in, 85;
    smuggling between France and, 87;
    annexed to France, 40, 100;
    invaded by English, 92;
    causes of disunion in, 106, 107;
    ceded to the Infanta Isabella, 120;
    contrast between different parts of, 129, 151;
    coast of, 129 _et seq._

  Fléron, Théodore, 349

  Fleurus, Battle of, 219, 220

  Flotte, Pierre, Chancellor of France, 43, 47

  Flushing, 61, 252, 255

  Foréts, Department of, 363

  Fox, Sir Stephen, 74

  France, Flanders annexed to, 40, 100

  France, Palais du, 7, 63

  Franchimont, 315

  Frankfort, Diet of (1519), 326

  Frederic de Montigny, 320

  Frederick III., 300

  Frederick, Prince, attacks Brussels, 239 _et seq._

  French Consulate at Bruges, 78

  French literature studied at Liége, 354

  French Revolution, 357

  Freyr, 274

  Furnes, 110-118;
    procession of penitents at, 113;
    Church of Ste. Walburge, 110;
    Hôtel de Ville and Palais de Justice, 110;
    Church of St. Nicholas, 110;
    Corps de Garde Espagnol and Pavillon des Officiers Espagnols, 112


  Gambia, Lord, at Ghent, 167

  Gand, Porte de, 15

  Gardiner, Dr., quoted, 52

  Gauthier de Sapignies, 45

  Gembloux, 285

  Genoese merchants, house of, at Bruges, 78

  George III., 74

  Germans at Antwerp, 267, 268

  Germany, emigrations from Flanders to, 132

  Ghent, 20, 42, 84;
    trade of, 163, 164;
    early history, 165;
    Edward III. and Queen Philippa at, 166;
    birth of John of Gaunt, 167;
    of Charles V., 166;
    fêtes at, 172;
    disaffection during reign of Charles the Bold, 189;
    Congress of, and Pacification, 168, 170, 171, 250;
    marriage of Mary of Burgundy, 167;
    Catalini, 231;
    Louis XVIII. in, 1815, 226, 227, 230, 231;
    Hôtel de Ville, 167, 168, 169;
    Roland, the bell of Ghent, 173;
    Rue des Champs, 227;
    Rue Haut-Port, 169;
    Abbey of St. Bavon, 170, 171;
    Béguinage, 169;
    Cathedral of St. Bavon, 171, 231;
    Church of
      St. Jacques, 169,
      of St. Michael, 169,
      of St. Nicholas, 169,
      of St. Pierre, 169;
    Marché du Vendredi, 169;
    Carthusian Monastery, 167;
    Cloth Hall, 173;
    picture of Mary of Burgundy, 168;
    Place Ste. Pharailde, 166

  Ghiselhuis, 59

  Gilliat-Smith, author of _The Story of Bruges_, 6

  Gloucester, Henry, Duke of, 65 _et seq._

  Godfrey of Bouillon, 372, 374

  Godshuisen, 64

  Golden Fleece, Order of the, 26

  Golden Spurs, Battle of the, 16, 39

  Golf in Belgium, 145-148

  'Governor of the English Colony beyond the Seas,' 78

  Grand Alliance, 370

  Grande Dame of Béguinage, 24

  Grande Salle des Échevins at Bruges, 39

  Great storm of thirteenth century, 132

  Grignoux and Chiroux factions, 340

  Groisbeck, Gérard de, 329, 331

  Gruthuise, 7, 27

  Guerre de la Vache de Ciney, 292, 293

  Guildhouse of St. Sebastian at Bruges, 7, 72

  Gustavus Adolphus, 67

  Guy de Dampierre, 40


  Haccourt, 322

  Haecke, Canon van, 30

  Hague, The, Convention of, 1790, 218

  Hainaut, Counts of, vassals of Liége, 285;
    Count of, opposes Simon de Limbourg, 289

  Halle de Drapiers at Ypres, 103

  Halle de Paris at Bruges, 78

  Halles at Bruges, 5

  Halloy, Jean de, 292

  Hamilton, Sir James, 68

  Hane-Steenhuyse, Comte d', 227, 230

  Hannetaire, Monsieur d', 206

  Hanseatic League, 58

  Hapsburg, House of, 190

  Hastière, 274, 329

  Heinsberg, Jean de, 297

  Henry II., Emperor, grants a charter to Liége, 284, 285

  Henry IV., 289

  Henry VIII., 171

  Het Paradijs, 28

  Heyst, 54, 80, 135, 136

  Hobbema, 156

  Hoensbroeck, César de, 355

  Hogarth, 37

  Holland, Béguinages in, 23

  Holy Blood, relic and chapel of, at Bruges, 14, 28;
    Procession of the, 32

  Holy Cross, Relic of, 26

  Holy Sepulchre, Church of, at Jerusalem, 29

  Hoogenblekker, 130

  Horn, Count, 99, 168, 170, 200

  Hôtel de Bouchoute at Bruges, 4

  Hôtel de Ville at Bruges, 7, 14, 15, 59, 81;
    at Furnes, 112

  Hougoumont, 232

  House of the Seven Towers, 65, 66, 73

  Hundred Days, 226-232

  Huy, tournament at, 292;
    rebuilt, 327;
    taken by the Dutch, 336;
    destroyed by Villeroi, 370;
    citadel of, enlarged in 1892, 371

  Hyde (Lord Clarendon), 67, 68, 71


  Idesbaldus, St., 154

  Immon of Chévremont, 282 _et seq._

  Imperial Chamber, 323, 355, 356, 358

  Inquisition in Flanders, 113

  Inquisition at Liége, 328

  Installation of the Bishops of Liége, 331
  Isabella, daughter of Philip II., 195

  Isabella, wife of Ferdinand of Spain, 190

  Isabella, the Infanta, 99, 112, 122

  Isabelle de Bourbon, 313

  _Ivanhoe_, 296


  Jacobins at Brussels, 219 _et seq._

  Jacques de Horne, 320

  Jacques de le Roy, 317

  Jallet, 292

  Jasper, La Ruelle's servant, 343, 344, 345

  Jean III., Count of Louvain and Duke of Brabant, 182

  Jean d'Arenberg, 317

  Jean de Beaufort, 292

  Jean de Horne, 318, 325

  Jean de Ville, 305, 306, 308

  Jean Sans Pitie, 297

  Jean, son of Philip the Bold, 187

  Jeanne, Duchess of Brabant, 182, 187, 198

  Jemappes, 220, 359

  Jerusalem, Baldwin, King of, 29

  Jerusalem, Church of, at Bruges, 26

  Jesse, _Memoirs of the Court of England_, 74

  Jesuits at Bruges, 75

  Jesuits, Rector of, at Liége, murdered, 349

  Joanna of Navarre, 40

  Joanna, wife of Philip the Fair, 190

  John, King of England, 183

  John of Bavaria, 297

  John of Gaunt, 167

  John of Ypres, 8, 9

  Joseph II., 76, 100, 356;
    succeeds Maria Theresa, 208;
    his policy in the Austrian Netherlands, 209 _et seq._;
    demands opening of Scheldt, 262;
    his death, 218

  Joseph of Arimathæa, 29

  Jourdan, 219

  Joyeuse Entrée of Brabant: origin, 182;
    variations of, 183;
    Mary of Burgundy's Joyeuse Entrée, 189;
    alleged infringement by Joseph II., 213;
    restored, 218

  Judith, wife of Baldwin Bras-de-Fer, 12, 110

  Juliers, Duke of, 333

  Jupille, 280, 351

  Justice, Palais du, at Bruges, 14;
    at Furnes, 15, 110


  Kadzand, 57

  Kermesse, 89, 90

  King, Thomas Harper, 32

  Kingdom of the Netherlands, 225, _et seq._, 364

  Knights of the Golden Fleece, 26

  Knocke, 54, 57, 138, 146, 147

  Kuilemburg, Count, 191, 192


  La Baule, Cardinal, 302

  La Belle Alliance, 232, 233

  La Cintray, 205

  Lac d'Amour, 24, 25

  Laeken, 223

  Lamden, 370

  Lamennais, 242

  La Nogentelle, 205

  La Panne, 135, 138, 141, 142

  La Pinaud, 213, 222

  La Roche, Count of, 288

  La Ruelle, Burgomaster of Liége, 339;
    is murdered, 345, 346

  La Tour d'Auvergne, 373

  La Haye Sainte, 232

  Le Coq, 135, 144-146

  _Legend of Montrose_, 67

  Legia, the, 279

  Lejeusne, Mathurin, 114

  Leliarts, 15, 40, 181

  Lemonnier, M. Camille, 373

  Leonius, 30

  Leopold I., 72, 133, 364

  Leopold II., 145

  Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, 234, 242

  Leroz, 355, 356
  Lesse, the, 274

  Libramont, 374

  Liége, 176;
    boundaries of the principality, 273;
    early history, 279;
    churches of, enriched by plunder of Chèvremone, 284;
    Court of Peace, 287;
    charter of Albert de Cuyck, 288 _et seq._;
    sympathy with France in the fifteenth century; army of, defeated
      at Montenac, 300;
    rules imposed by Charles the Bold, 302;
    his oppressions, 303, 304;
    destroyed, 308, 309, 310;
    recovery of, 313;
    concessions granted by Mary of Burgundy, 313, 314;
    relations with Germany, 326;
    episcopal palace built, 327;
    objections to a Papal inquisition, 328;
    Spanish garrison at, 329;
    magistrates claim right to hold the keys, 330;
    they usurp the powers of the Bishop, 339;
    Chiroux and Grignoux factions, 340;
    mob take the episcopal palace, 350;
    a citadel built, 351;
    state of, from 1650 to 1688, 353, 354;
    study of French literature, 354;
    revolution of 1789, 357;
    taken by the French in 1792, 359;
    welcome to Dumouriez, 359;
    in favour of union with French Republic, 359;
    Mirabeau's visit, 359;
    Cathedral of St. Lambert destroyed, 360, 361;
    revolution of 1830, 364;
    Place Verte, 365;
     Place St. Lambert, 365;
    Rue Leopold, 365;
    Pont des Arches, 365;
    episcopal palace (Palais de Justice), 365, 366;
    Hôtel de Ville, 367;
    steel and iron works, 367, 368;
    bombarded by Marshal Boufflers, 370;
    taken by the English, 370;
    modern fortifications, 371

  Lille, 227

  Lilly the astrologer, 68

  Limbourg, Simon de, 289

  Lincoln, Bishop of, 31

  Lombaerdzyde, 120, 124, 156, 177

  Londonderry, 252

  Longfellow, quoted, 5, 38, 58

  Loove, the, at Bruges, 18

  Louis de Bourbon becomes Bishop of Liége, 298, 299;
    lives at Brussels, 304;
    is surprised at Tongres by the Liégeois, 305;
    obtains concessions in favour of the town, 313;
    is murdered, 316

  Louis of Maele, Count of Flanders, 59, 93, 95, 186, 188

  Louis of Nassau, 342

  Louis of Nevers, 53, 59

  Louis XI., 189;
    encourages the Liégeois to revolt, 300;
    instigates Charles the Bold against Liége, 310;
    marches with him to Liége, 307;
    employs William de la Marck, 314

  Louis XIII., 341

  Louis XIV., 99, 197;
    takes Bouillon, 373

  Louis XVIII., 226, 227, 230, 231

  Louvain, 23; Albert de, 289;
    capital of old Brabant, 177;
    inauguration of Dukes of Brabant, 186 _et seq._;
    University, 211;
    Séminaire Générale, 211;
    Collège Philosophique, 236

  Luxembourg, 99

  Luxembourg, Count of, joins in the War of the Cow, 292, 293

  Lyger, 152

  Lys, the River, 165, 166


  Maele, Louis of, 59, 93, 95

  Maestricht, Abbey of, laid waste, 282;
    siege of, 330

  Magna Charta, 183

  Maison des Orientaux, 77

  Malines, 284

  Malmedy, 282
  Malplaquet, 371

  Mannaert, 114

  Manneken of Brussels, 217, 222

  Marat, 220

  Marbriers, Quai des, 13

  Marchand, M., 343, 349

  Marché du Vendredi at Ghent, 169

  Margaret of Parma, 191

  Margaret of York, 312

  Marguerite of Maele, 186, 187

  Mariakerke, 134

  Marianne, daughter of Dame de Bellem, 214

  Maria Theresa, 100, 203, 208, 209, 218, 354

  Marie Antoinette, 216

  Marie of Burgundy, 312, 313

  Marie Louise, Empress, 222, 223

  Marie, wife of Charles of Lorraine, 203

  Mark of Baden, 300

  Market-Place of Bruges, 3, 4, 5, 9, 39, 41

  Marlborough, 371

  Martel, Charles, 280, 281

  Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the Bold, 167, 168, 189, 190

  Mary, 'The Gentle,' 26

  Matins of Bruges, 15, 39

  Maurice, Elector, 257

  Maurice of Nassau, 119, 124, 126

  Mauritshuis at The Hague, 157

  Maximilian, Archduke, 4, 60

  Maximilian, Archduke (afterwards Emperor), 318, 321, 322, 326

  Maximilian, Henry, Bishop of Liége, 353 _et seq._

  Maximilian, husband of Mary of Burgundy, 167, 190

  Mazarin, 66

  Méan, Comte de, 359

  Melrose Abbey, 153

  Memlinc, 7, 60, 78

  Merode, Field-Marshal de, 369

  Meuninxhove, John van, 73

  Meurs, William de, 336

  Meuse Inférieure, 363

  Michael Angelo, 26

  Middelkerke, 134, 135

  Minnewater, 24, 25

  Mirabeau at Liége, 359, 360

  Miracles wrought by the Holy Blood at Bruges, 31

  Mons, 196

  Monthermé, 274

  Mont St. Jean, 232

  Morgarten, 47

  Mother Superior of Béguinage, 24

  Mourentorff, Jean, 261

  Muette de Portici, performance of, 238

  Münster, Treaty of, 256, 262, 263

  Murray, Sir Robert, 67

  Musée Plantin-Moretus, 262


  Namur, 196;
    situation of, 274;
    taken by Louis XIV., 370;
      by William III., 370;
    strategic importance of, 369, 370, 371;
    fortifications round, 371

  Nancy, 189; Battle of, 311

  Napoleon: at Antwerp, 243, 264;
    on the importance of Antwerp, 264, 265;
    at Brussels, 222, 223;
    departure to Elba, 224;
    lands in France, 225;
    at Charleroi, 228;
    reported victory of, on June 17, 1815, 231;
    at Bruges, 32;
    return from Elba, 101;
    canal to Sluis constructed by, 50

  Napoleon III. at Bouillon in 1870, 374

  Navarre, Joanna of, 40

  Neutrality of Flanders in 1340 and 1830, 53

  Nevers, Louis of, 53, 59

  Nicholas I., Pope, 12

  Nicholas, Sir Edward, 67

  Nieuport, 119-128;
    origin of, 131;
    besieged by Prince Maurice, 124;
    fallen state of, 127
  Nieuport-Bains, 128, 129, 135, 141

  'Nieuwerck,' at Ypres, 103

  Nimeguen, Treaty of, 99

  Nivelles, 123

  Noé, Michael, 72

  Normans in Flanders, 11

  Norwich, Earl of, 67, 68

  Notger, Bishop, 282 _et seq._

  Notre Dame, choir of, at Bruges, 312

  Notre Dame, Church of, at Bruges, 7, 25, 76

  Notre Dame de Lombaerdzyde, 156

  Notre Dame de Thuine, 96


  Oldenburgh, Grand Duchess of, 234

  'Old England,' at Bruges, 78

  Oosterlingen Plaats, 67

  Oostkerke, 51

  Orange, William of, King of the Netherlands, 225, 233, 235 _et seq._

  Orange, William of (the Silent), 192

  Orange, Prince of, 225, 233, 234, 235

  Orientaux, Maison des, 77;
    Place des, 77

  Ormonde, 67, 71

  Osburga, 12

  Ostend, canal from Ghent to, 164

  Ostend, growth of, 126, 133, 135, 136

  Othée, Battle of, 297

  Otho the Great, 282, 284

  Otlet, M. Paul, 136 _note_

  Oudenarde, 371

  Ouden Burg, 7

  Ourthe, 363


  Pacification of Ghent, 168, 170, 250, 329

  Palais de Justice, at Bruges, 14, 15, 18;
    at Furnes, 110

  Palais de Justice at Liége, 327, 365, 366

  Palais du Franc, 63

  Paradijs, Het, 28

  Parijssche Halle, 78

  Paris, 141

  Paris, Capitulation of, 1814, 224;
    Revolution of July, 1830, 238

  Parma, Duke of, in Flanders, 97

  Parma, Prince of, 250, 252, 253, 256

  Pauperism of Bruges, 64

  Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 354

  Peace of Utrecht, 371

  Pepin d'Herstal, 280, 281

  Peronne, Louis XI. at, 306, 307

  Perron of Liége, 300, 303, 304, 314, 366

  Pesche, Baron de, 341

  Peter the Hermit, 369

  Philip de Croy, Prince of Chimay, 333

  Philip of Alsace, 165

  Philip II., 190, 195, 253, 261, 329;
    cedes Spanish Netherlands to his daughter, 120

  Philip III., 120

  Philip of Valois, 53, 56

  Philip the Bold, 187

  Philip the Fair, 39, 40, 42, 43, 46, 190

  Philip the Good, 187, 188, 297, 298

  Philip the Hardy, 293

  Philippa, Queen, at Ghent, 166

  Pitt, William, policy in the Netherlands, 263

  Place des Orientaux, 77

  Place du Bourg, 13, 14, 15

  Plantin, Christopher, 260 _et seq._

  Polyglot Bible, 261

  Pont des Arches, 365

  Pont des Dunes, 155

  Pope Clement V., 30;
    VII., 93;
    Boniface VIII., 43;
    Celestine III., 155;
    Urban VI., 93

  Poperinghe, 104

  Porte de Damme, 44, 50

  Porte de Gand, 15
  Porte Ste. Croix, 44, 45

  Principality of Liége, boundaries, 273;
    state of, under Burgundy, 276;
    relations with Germany, 326;
    during the sixteenth century, 327;
    refuses to join the United Netherlands, 329;
    neutrality proclaimed, 330;
    proposal for union with Brabant, 356;
    Austrian army enters, 358;
    annexed to the French Republic, 359, 360;
    boundaries obliterated, 363;
    included in the kingdom of the Netherlands, 364

  Procession of the Holy Blood at Bruges, 32 _et seq._;
    of Penitents, at Furnes, 114

  Prud'homme d'Aillay, Marquis, 215

  Pruyssenaere, Peter, 72


  Quai Espagnol, 77;
    Long, 49;
    des Marbriers, 13, 63, 65;
    du Miroir, 49;
    de la Potterie, 49, 50, 155;
    du Rosaire, 9, 49;
    Spinola, 49, 78;
    Vert, 63, 114

  'Quarantaines,' 286

  Quatre Bras, 229, 232

  _Quentin Durward_, 296


  Ramillies, 371

  Ramsonnet, M., 356

  Rastadt, Treaty of, 100

  Redouté, Paul, 356

  Réglement de Maximilien de Bavière, 353

  René, Duke of Lorraine, 311

  Rheims, 289

  Richard I., 154

  Richmond, Duke and Duchess of, 228

  Robinson, Mr. Wilfrid, author of _Bruges, an Historical Sketch_, 6

  Rochester, Earl of, 67

  Rodenbach, 79

  Rognon, M., 207

  Roland, the bell of Ghent, 173

  Röles de Damme, 58

  Rome, flight of Baldwin and Judith to, 12

  Roosebeke, Battle of, 59, 92

  Rosaire, Quai du, 9

  Roulers, 92

  Route Royale, 141

  Roya, 8, 9, 10, 13, 49, 50

  Rubens, Joannes, 256, 257, 261

  Rubens, Peter Paul, 256 _et seq._

  Rue Anglaise, in Bruges, 78;
    de l'Ane Aveugle, 13, 15, 21;
    des Carmes, 72;
    Cour de Gand, 77; Espagnole, 76;
    Flamande, 78; Haute, 65;
    Neuve, 10;
    du Vieux Bourg, 7, 9, 10, 66

  Runnymede, 183

  Ruysdael, 156

  Ryswick, Treaty of, 370


  Saizan, Baron de, 343, 344, 348

  Sambre et Meuse, 363

  Santhoven, 131

  Sart, Comte de, 207

  Scarphout, 132

  Scheldt, the River, 243, 244, 245, 249, 251, 253, 255, 256, 262, 263,
    265, 267, 268

  'Schielt ende Vriendt,' 45

  Schomberg, 99

  Schönfeldt, General, 217

  Schoutteeten, 26, 27

  'Scotland,' at Bruges, 78

  Scottish merchants at Bruges, 78

  Scott, Sir Walter, 67, 296

  Sedan, 372

  See-Brugge, 80

  Semois, 273, 274, 372

  Senlis, 12

  Senne, the River, 176, 181

  Seraing, 358, 368

  Sheppey, Isle of, 154

  Sidney, Sir Philip, 255

  Simon de Limbourg, 289

  Sluis, 44, 51, 57, 59, 61, 306

  Smet de Naeyer, Comte, 138

  Smith, Gilliat-, 5, 6, 21, 22
  Smyrna, Consulate of, at Bruges, 77

  Société Deleau, 355

  Société d'Emulation, 354, 359

  Soignies, forest of, 176, 229

  Spa, gaming tables at, 355, 356

  Spaniards, at Bruges, 77;
    at Furnes, 112, 113

  Spanish Fury of Antwerp, 248, 250, 257

  Spanish Inquisition, 113

  Spencer, Henry, Bishop of Norwich, 92

  St. André, Village of, 21

  Stavelot, 282

  St. Bartholomew's Day, 250

  St. Basil, Church of, 28, 76

  St. Bavon, 60

  St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 28, 155

  St. Donatian, Church of, 76

  Ste. Elizabeth, Church of, 7, 25

  Ste. Gudule, Church of, 26

  Steinkirk, 370

  Ste. Monica, Church of, 23

  Ste. Walburge, Church of, at Bruges, 78;
    at Furnes, 110, 154

  St. George, Society of, 71, 72

  St. Hubert, 280, 281;
    town and abbey of, 281, 285, 329

  St. Idesbaldus, 154

  St. Jean de l'Atre, 311

  St. John, Hospital of, 7

  St. Lambert, 280;
    Cathedral of, 279, 360, 361, 365

  St. Martin, Church of, at Furnes, 96

  St. Monulphe, 279

  St. Nicholas, Church of, at Furnes, 110

  St. Omer, Jesuits of, 75

  St. Peter's, at Ghent, 20

  Straetens, 17, 18

  St. Sauveur, Church of, 7, 22, 26, 33, 76

  St. Sebastian, altar of, at Nancy, 312

  St. Sebastian, Society of, at Bruges, 71, 72, 74;
    at Ypres, 92

  St. Trond, 329

  Stübben, Herr, 148

  Swift, Dean, 37

  Sybilla, wife of Thierry d'Alsace, 29

  Sydenham, Colonel, 67

  Syria, 26


  _Tales of a Grandfather_, 296

  Tarah, Viscount, 66

  Tariff question in Belgium, 1829, 237

  Terbanck, Monastery of, 184

  Tercelain, family name of Plantin, 260

  'Ter Streep,' 130

  Tervueren, 205, 208, 234

  Théâtre de la Monnaie, 201, 203, 223

  Thierry d'Alsace, 28 _et seq._, 131

  'Thuindag,' 96

  Thurloe State Papers, 67

  Titelman the Inquisitor, 112

  Tongres, 284

  Torquemada, 113

  Tournai, 84, 176, 327, 328, 367

  Tours, Battle of, 281

  'Tower of London,' at Bruges, 78

  Tragedy of the Passion, 201

  Trauttmansdorff, 215

  Treaty of Campo Formio, 264;
    of Münster
    of Utrecht, 262, 263

  Treaty of Ryswick, 370

  Trève de Dieu, 287

  Trèves, 358

  Tribunal de Paix, 287, 288, 291

  Tricaria, Bishop of, 304

  Truchses, Gérard, 255, 335

  Turner, Sir James, 67, 70

  Turnhout, 176

  Twelve Years' Truce, 256, 337


  Urban VI., 93

  Ursol, Duc d', 221

  Utrecht, Peace of, 371;
    Treaty of, 262, 263
  Valois, Philip of, 56

  Van der Noot, 214 _et seq._, 222

  Van Eyck, 14, 21, 49, 60, 129

  Vanity Fair, 228

  Vauban, 370;
    fortifies Ypres, 91, 99, 100

  Verdun, Henri de, 287

  Verhaeren, M., Belgian poet, 144

  Victoria, Queen, at Bruges, 72

  Vienna, Congress of, 101, 225

  Vieux Bourg, Rue du, 7, 9, 10

  Villeroi, attacks Brussels, 196 _et seq._

  Virgin and Child, Statue of, at Bruges, 26

  Voltaire, 354

  Vonck, 217, 218


  Walburge, Ste., Church of, at Bruges, 78;
    at Furnes, 110, 154

  Walcheren, 61

  Walcheren Expedition, 264

  Walloons, industrious character of, 275, 367

  Warfusée, Count of, 342, 343 _et seq._

  War of the Cow, 292, 293, 295, 369

  War of the Spanish Succession, 370

  Waterloo, 231, 232; Battle of, 32, 101

  Waulsort, 274

  Weavers, Guild of, 41

  Wellington, Duke of, 226, 228, 232, 234

  Wencelas, 182, 186

  Wenduyne, 131, 135

  Westcapelle, 51

  Westende, village, 120, 124;
    Plage, 138, 139, 141, 142-144

  Weyden, Roger van der, 188

  Wild Boar of Ardennes, 313-321, 373

  Wilhelmshöhe, 374

  William, Bishop of Ancona, 31

  William III., 196, 207

  William of Orange, 329

  Worms, Diet of (1495), 323

  Wounded Eagle Monument at Waterloo, 232


  York, Duke of, at Bruges, 66 _et seq._

  Ypres, 91-107;
    field preaching near, 97;
    churches sacked, 97;
    taken by Parma, 97;
    by the Protestants, 97;
    Place du Musée, 98;
    besieged by Louis XIV., 99;
    fortified by Vauban, 91, 99-101;
    ceded to France, 99;
    described by Vauban in 1689, 100;
    taken by the French in 1794, 100;
    during the Hundred Days, 101;
    end of military history, 101;
    Grand Place and Cloth Hall, 102;
    monopoly of weaving linen, 104;
    manages with Bruges the Hanseatic League in Flanders, 104;
    the Nieuwerck, 103;
    riots at, 105, 106;
    siege of, by English, 92 _et seq._;
    John of Ypres describes early Bruges, 8, 9

  Ypres, 173, 175, 177, 244

  Yser, 119, 120


  Zoutman, Lambert, 361

  Zutphen, Battle of, 255

  Zuyder Zee, 132

  Zwijn, 10, 52, 54, 55, 61

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      *      *      *      *      *      *



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chapter.





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