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whitewashed, and bedaubed with tinsel, and dolls, and tortured images. . . . Bells continually tinkling. There goes a woman to her prayers, in a long black cloak, and bright blue stockings; here comes a nicely-dressed old woman, leaning on her staff! Surely it is a blessing to the aged in Roman Catholic countries to have the churches always open for them, if it were only that it makes a variety in the course of a long day! How soothing, how natural to the aged, thus to withdraw from the stir of household cares, and occupations in which they can no longer take a part! and I must say (little as I have yet seen of this mode of worshipping God) I never beheld more of the expression of piety and earnest feeling than in some of the very old people in these churches. Every avenue of the square of this little town presents some picturesque continuation of buildings. All is old, and old-fashioned; nothing to complain of but a want of Dutch cleanliness, yet it does not obtrude on the eye, out of doors, and the exterior is grave, decent, and quiet.
The priests in their gaudy attire, with their young whiterobed attendants, made a solemn appearance, while clouds of incense were ascending over their heads to the large crucifix above the altar; and the 'pealing organ' sounded to 'the fullvoiced quire.' There was a beautiful nun in a grey garment with a long black scarf, white forehead band, belt, and rosary. Intent upon her devotions, she did not cast an eye towards us, and we stood to look at her. The faces of many of the women are handsome, but the steady grace, the chastened motions of their persons, and the mild seriousness of their countenances, are most remarkable.
From Furnes to Bruges we had travelled through a flat country, yet with an endless variety, produced by the various produce of a beautiful soil carefully cultivated. We had been told that the country between Ghent and Bruges was much of the same kind, only not so interesting, therefore we were not sorry to interpose
the variety of the packet-boat to Ghent. . . . And, when all was ready, took our places on the deck of the vessel. The tinkling of a bell, the signal for departure; and we glided gently away with motion only perceptible by the eye, looking at the retreating objects on the shore. . . . Two nuns and a priest (his prayerbook in his hand), an English dandy, a handsome lady-like Flemish girl, dressed in an elegant gauze mob-cap with flowers, and robe à la française, were the most noticeable people. . . . The groups under the awning would make a lively picture. The priest, in his cocked hat, standing at his prayers, the pretty maiden in her cap and flowers, and there are the nuns. My brother and the nuns are very merry. They seem to have left their prayer-books at home, and one of them has a pamphlet in her hand that looks like a magazine. Low cottages, pretty and clean, close to the bank; a woman scouring a copper vessel, in white jacket, red cap, blue petticoat, and clean sailcloth apron; the flat country to be seen over the low banks of the canal, spires and towers, and sometimes a village may be descried among trees; many little public-houses to tempt a landing; near one I see a pleasant arbour, with seats aloft for smoking. . The nuns are merry; so is the priest, in his spectacles; the dandy recommends shoes, in preference to boots, as more convenient. 'There is nobody that can clean either on the Continent.' For my part, I think they clean them as well as anything else, except their vessels for cookery! they cannot get the dust out of a chair, or rub a table! . . . William and I remained till the carriages were safely landed, amid a confusion of tongues, French, German, and English, and inarticulate shoutings, such as belong to all nations. . . . Canals round the town, rows of trees, fortifications converted into pleasure-grounds. We pass through old and picturesque streets, with an intermixture of houses of a later date, and showy shops; an appearance of commerce and bustle, which makes the contrast with Bruges
the more striking, as the architecture of the ancient houses is of the same kind. William and I, with our English lady, reached first the appointed inn, though our friends had left the boat long before us. . . .
Ghent.-After tea, walked through the city. The buildings, streets, squares, all are picturesque. The houses, green, blue, pink, yellow, with richest ornaments still varying. Strange it is that so many and such strongly-contrasted colours should compose an undiscordant whole. Towers and spires overlook the lofty houses, and nothing is wanting of venerable antiquity at Ghent to give to the mind the same melancholy composure, which cannot but be felt in passing through the streets of Bruges-nothing but the impression that no change is going on, except through the silent progress of time. There the very dresses of the women might have been the same for hundreds of years. Here, though the black cloak is prevalent, we see a mixture of all kinds, from the dress of the English or French belle to that of the poorest of our poor in a country town. . . .
Saturday, July 15.-The architecture is a mixture of Gothic and Grecian. Three orders of pillars, one above another, the Gothic part very rich. . . . Multitudes of swallows were wheeling round the roof, regardless of carts and hammers, or whatever noise was heard below, and the effect was indescribably interesting. The restless motions and plaintive call of those little creatures seemed to impart a stillness to every other object, and had the power to lead the imagination gently on to the period when that once superb but now decaying structure shall be 'lorded over and possessed by nature.' . . .
Arrival at Brussels.--Light and shade very solemn upon. the drawbridge. Passing through a heavy gateway, we entered the city, and drove through street after street with a pleasure wholly new to us. Garlands of fresh boughs and flowers in festoons hung on each side, and the great height of the houses,
especially in the narrow streets (lighted as they were), gave a beautiful effect to the exhibition. Some of the streets were very steep, others long or winding; and in the triangular openings at the junction of different streets there was generally some stately ornament. For instance, in one place a canopy, with white drapery attached to the centre, and suspended in four inverted arches by means of four pillars at the distance of six or seven yards from the centre.
Sunday, July 16th.-Brussels.-After breakfast, proceeded through the park, a very large open space with shady walks, statues, fountains, pools, arbours, and seats, and surrounded by palaces and fine houses-to the Cathedral, which, though immensely large, was so filled with people that we could scarcely make our way so as, by standing upon chairs (for which we paid two sous each), to have a view of the building over the multitudes of heads. The priests, at high mass, could not be seen; but the melody of human voices, accompanied by the organ, pierced through every recess -then came bursts of sound like thunder; and, at times, the solemn rousing of the trumpet. Powerful as was the effect of the music, the excessive heat and crowding after a short while overcame every other feeling, and we were glad to go into the open air. Our laquais de place conducted us to the house of a shop-keeper, where, from a room in the attics, we might view the procession. It was close to one of the triangular openings with which most of the streets of Brussels terminate. To the right, we looked down the street along which the procession was to come, and, a little to the left below us, overlooked the triangles, in the centre of which was a fountain ornamented with three marble statues, and a pillar in the midst, topped by a golden ball—the whole decorated with festoons of holly, and large roses made of paper, alternately red and yellow. In like manner the garlands were composed in all the streets through which the procession was to pass; but in some parts there were
also young fir-trees stuck in the pavement, leaving a footway between them and the houses. Paintings were hung out by such as possessed them, and ribands and flags. The street where we were was lined with people assembled like ourselves in expectation, all in their best attire. Peasants to be distinguished by their short jackets, petticoats of scarlet or some other bright colour (in contrast), crosses, or other ornament of gold or gilding; the bourgeoises, with black silk scarfs overhead, and reaching almost to their feet; ladies, a little too much of the French or English; little girls, with or without caps, and some in elegant white veils. The windows of all the houses open, and people seen at full length, or through doorways, sitting, or standing in patient expectation. It amused us to observe them, and the arrangements of their houses-which were even splendid, compared with those of persons of like condition in our own country-with an antique cast over all. Nor was it less amusing to note the groups or lines of people below us. Whether standing in the hot sunshine, or the shade, they appeared equally contented. Some approached the fountaina sacred spot!-to drink of the pure waters, out of which rise the silent statues. The spot is sacred; for there, before the priests arrived in the procession, incense was kindled in the urns, and a pause was made with the canopy of the Host, while they continued chanting the service. But I am going too fast.
The procession was, in its beginning, military, and its approach announced by sound of trumpets. Then came a troop of cavalry, four abreast, splendidly accoutred, dressed in blue and gold, and accompanied by a full band of music; next, I think, the magistrates and constituted authorities. But the order of the procession I do not recollect; only that the military, civil, and religious authorities and symbols were pleasingly combined, and the whole spectacle was beautiful. Long before the sound of the sacred service reached our ears, the martial music had died away in the distance, though there was no interruption in