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Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 4 (of 10) by Various

Part 3 out of 3

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frightful scene are these:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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