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at Baisieux, just before entering Tournay, is very
striking, altogether in favour of Belgium as to
neatness, comfortable appearance of living, and
houses, though I thought there was rather a Flem-
ish heaviness about the faces of the people, neater
and more comfortable as they were.
Everywhere on the route, but especially in Bel-
gium, the women seemed to do as much, and hard,
and various work as the men; they tramp about
in wooden shoes, which adds a double appearance
of heaviness to their movements, and almost of
slavery to their condition. The country is very
rich and well cultivated; but it impressed me with
a strange feeling of melancholy all the while ; for
there seemed nothing in it but toil and its fruits;
no intelligence apparently in the general counte-
nance; no leisure, no agreeable-looking country
houses, or cottages imbowered with trees; no gar-
dens with people walking or sitting in them ; no
persons having the air of gentlemen or ladies riding
or walking out as we entered, or left the villages
and cities; and the cities and villages not wearing
an inviting aspect—with close, narrow streets—
irregular, old, obstinately fixed in stone against all
improvement, and filled with men, women, and
children, without one being of attractive appear-
ance among them—almost without one.
The country on the route is remarkable for the long avenues of trees, (elm, poplar, beech) all trimmed up so as to be very lofty, without any under branches. For many miles together the road is lined on both sides with them; and ranges of trees, forming squares, triangles, and groves of parallel rows, are seen everywhere. It is doubt. less a bad taste carried to such an extent; and yet I think it might intermingle with that variety of
English scenery, for which there is such a passion in that country.
BRUssBLs is a beautiful city, and the beauty in some parts is in an ancient and striking fashion; as on the Grand Place, in which is the Hotel de Ville, or Town House, a fine Gothic building, with the highest tower, it is said, in Europe. The cathedral is very large; but the want of Gothic decorations within, and especially of the clustered column, instead of which is a great ugly round column, spoils the interior. The palace of the Prince of Orange is very splendid; beautiful floors of tesselated wood through the whole suite of apartments, rich marble walls, many fine paintings apparently—(one, portrait of a female, by Leonardo da Vinci, struck me much)—but we were not allowed to pause before them, being marched through the palace, a large company of us, in
Indian file, after having moccasins slipped over
our shoes, that the floors might not be injured.
The park, on which are situated the palaces, and
noble ranges of houses, is very fine; and the Bou-
levards--or rides and walks between rows of trees
—surrounding the whole town, are such a charm
and glory of a thing in its way, as is not, that I
know, to be found anywhere else in the world.
From Brussels, the ride to the field of Waterloo
is through the wood of Soigny; a noble forest of
beech trees, into which the golden beams of the
setting sun streamed, like the light through stained
windows into a Gothic temple.
We arrived at the field of Waterloo, nine miles
from Brussels, after sunset. We ascended the
mound raised in commemoration of the great en-
gagement of June 18th, 1815. It is two hundred
feet high, and has a monument on the summit, con-
sisting of a high pedestal, on which reposes the
British lion, a colossal figure and finely executed.
From this elevation, every point in the position of
the armies and the field of battle, is easily compre-
hended. It is now a ploughed field, with nothing
remarkable about it; but bare and naked as it is,
of everything but the interest which the great ac-
tion gives it, I would not but have seen it. We
descended and passed through the very centre of
168 THE OLD worlD AND THE NEw.
the field—the road to Genappe leading in that
direction; yes, we rode quietly through that peace.
ful field, where, eighteen years ago, on a summer's
night—the same moon shining that now lighted
our way—thousands lay in the sleep of death, and
thousands more lifted up, on every side, faces
marked with the death agony, and uttered wailings
that measured out the long, long hours of that
dreadful night. As if to complete the contrast,
we heard the sound of a violin as we drove off
from the battle field, and turning aside to the
quarter from whence it came, observed a dance
before the door of one of the cottages.
At Genappe—a few miles distant—beneath the
window of the chamber where I slept, was the
street where the retreating French raised the last
barrier against the pursuing Prussians and Bruns.
wickers. Along that street sounded the fearful
“hurrah!” which, as Prince Blucher's report says,
drove the panicstruck soldiers of Bonaparte from
their post. By the very window from which I
looked, rushed the furious Prussian cavalry, which
swept away the feeble barricade like chaff; and on
every stone of that pavement blood—human blood
had flowed. Yet now, what but these dread recol-
lections themselves could be more thrilling than
the awful stillness, the deep repose which settled
down upon that fearful spot—the moonbeams fall-
ing upon the silent walls, and upon pavements
which no footstep disturbed, and seeming to con-
secrate all nature to prayer and love, not to wrath
and destruction. -
August 26. Our ride to-day, especially down
the Meuse from Namur to Liege, has been de-
lightful; the road smooth and level; on the right
the Meuse, on the left a constant succession of
cliffs, wanting only the ivy to make them almost as
beautiful as the cliffs of Derbyshire in England.
Some of the hills, too, were covered with vine-
yards, and on the meadow banks of the Meuse
were the finest orchards of apple, pear, and plum
trees, that I ever saw.
Huy, on the route, is beautifully situated, and
its citadel, which we visited, seemed, to my inex-
perienced eye, a stupendous work. It is built on
a hill, and its battlements rise seven hundred feet
above the streets of the town. The work is very
massive, and the cavernous depths to which we
descended within, gave me a new idea of the mag-
, nitude and strength of a military fortress.
Indeed this whole country, and especially almost every city and town, surrounded with stupendous walls, and defended by gates, which are manned
with soldiers, constantly remind you of war—conWOL. I.-P.