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in the tongue of the Low Countries, and as I looked I thought, good Protestant as I am, that they have dim eyes to see and dull ears to hear, who think that the Catholic church — the Roman Catholic church, if you please—has fallen upon evil days, or totters to its fall.

That “revolutions never go backward,” is a comfortable doctrine for those who believe in revolution, but it is not always true. This cathedral of Antwerp was ravaged by the iconoclasts, who, in 1566, broke down the altars and the "images;" then, two hundred years later, came the French infidel, and did the same thing; yet to-day the two great bells call the people to the worship of the old faith. The waves of the Reformation swept over the Low Countries, but to-day scarce a trace of that great movement remains in Belgium. If that revolution did not go backward, it ceased to go forward. Twice, as I have said, has this great Catholic church of Antwerp passed into the hands of aliens; more than this, it has been three times ravaged by fire: yet the devotion to the old church has been sufficient to rebuild it, and the same spirit would, I believe, rear it again in strength and beauty, though it were laid in ashes to-morrow. It is idle to say that the religion which reared, all over Europe, these wonderful buildings; which has cared for them during the vicissitudes of stormy centuries; which guards and adorns them to-day as holy and precious, is a fading and dying thing. Call it "mummery," this worship, and “superstition,” this faith -- it is not my business to call names, but to tell of things as I see them; and I say, that, however much consolation doctors skilled in prophecy may derive from ingenious combinations of the horns and beasts of Revelation, what I have seen with my merely unassisted human vision, in these old countries, has convinced me that the Catholic church is the most powerful organization on earth, and has the promise of countless centuries of vitality. We may laugh, us Protestants, at the young mothers of Antwerp, who seek with great reverence, after the birth of their babies, a particular wooden statue of the Virgin in the church of St. Willibord, but our merriment does not change their belief in the least ; nor does it abolish the fact that, as the mother believed, so the child, when old and dying, is apt to believe. “I will shiver you as I do this potsherd,” said Napoleon, dashing a costly vase at the feet of the Pope; but at the last he said, in dreary St. Helena, “I die in the faith of the Holy Roman Catholic church ;” and again, “It is good for a man to die in the faith of his fathers."

In Europe—even in Switzerland, once the home of Calvin, the refuge of Knox- the symbols of the Catholic church are everywhere. At every turn in the road you see the wayside cross; over the door of the modest inn is the Virgin and her Babe; and going through the dark streets of Antwerp, at night, I have cast my eyes up to the only light-a lamp fastened to the old wall - and saw, ghastly and white and rigid, the dead Christ on the cross, an object of devotion by night as by day.

All this, and more, came to me as I looked at the priest of Antwerp, one of a mighty army of such, wearing different guises, but all wearing the cross ; laboring in distant countries, but all to the same end - the “propagation of the faith” as it has existed for ages -- and doing their work with a zeal, a patience, and a courage as great to-day as it was in the days of Xavier or Loyola.

There are a great many churches in Antwerp beside Notre Dame. Of these the most splendid is that of St. Jacques. A good-sized volume might be written descriptive of this church alone. Its chapels are decorated with the most precious marbles. In many instances the chapels are the gift of single families. Among the saints whose names are most frequent in Antwerp are St. Barbara, whose assistance is invoked to save from sudden and unexpected death, and St. Roch, who aids in time of pestilence. One of the latest saints canonized was an Antwerp mason, St. Flores. Adjoining St. Andrew's church is one of the most curious sights in the world. It is called “the Calvary.” It is a grotto or labyrinth, composed of coal cinders, gravel and broken bottles. The place is full of caves and recesses, and crowded with statues of prophets, saints, angels and devils. It is indescribable. The most wonderful thing in all these churches is the wood-carving, of which there is an incredible amount. I could never have believed, had I not seen it, the grace, beauty and majesty that the artist's genius can bring out of blocks of wood. There are “angels bright and fair," rank on rank, with their folded hands and wings, so beautiful that they seem to have just alighted on this poor world, and all made of oak wood nothing more.

But the "event of the season was the fetes in honor of the three-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Rubens. The exercises had been going on for several days when I arrived, though greatly interfered with by rain during my stay. Rubens is the god of Antwerp. His bronze statue stands in the Place Verte, and, during my stay, I ate, drank and slept Rubens. His hand

I some features were displayed everywhere. Triumphal arches were thrown across the principal streets enormous affairs, wonderfully constructed of painted canvas,

There were flags enough to have furnished forth a thousand Fourth-of-July celebrations. The Belgian tri-color (black, red and yellow) covered the entire town. Rubens photographs, Rubens cigar-cases, Rubens everything, filled the shop windows. All the churches and the museum were thrown open that the people might see Rubens' pictures. I had seen several of his gorgeous court pictures in the Louvre, and greatly admired their richness and brilliancy. In Antwerp, his pictures are religious, and I failed to appreciate them. I got very tired of his Virgin, reproduced a score of times -a fat young Flemish woman, with a low, oval forehead, very large black eyes, an enormous bust, and a great, round, white, fat neck, which dominated over everything else. In every picture the posé was such as to give this neck the best possible showing—it was “neck or nothing.” The sameness of the pictures is accounted for by the fact that Rubens took as a model his second wife, or, perhaps, his first — I do not remember; but at any rate, when you look at the Virgin Mary you are looking at Mrs. Rubens. In one picture Rubens himself appears as St. George. I suppose it is very presumptuous in me to say these things, but I believe them. The pictures by Van Dyke, the pupil of Rubens, appear to me infinitely finer. It seems to me that he was the greatest portrait painter who has ever lived.

The fete, however, went on just the same, notwithstanding my opinion. One night we had a great historical torchlight procession. All the costumes in the old pictures were faithfully reproduced; rank on rank marched past in the armor or the dresses of centuries ago; burghers, soldiers, kings and bishops all moved by, the light of the flaring torches falling on moving masses of color, scarlet, yellow and purple. There were great cars representing music, art, religion, printing, and so on; an enormous organ formed one of these moving structures. Rubens moved by on an immense chariot, while young girls with trumpets were supposed to sound abroad his fame. A great concourse of people witnessed the procession, and when the cortege turned into one of the narrow, winding streets, completely filling it with the moving scene, the light of the torches flashing up against the high houses, the tossing of banners, the glitter of helmets and arms, and the “silver trumpets snarling," as Keats has it, made a combination of sights and sounds that at least one spectator will never forget.

The next night there was a concert in the Place Verte, by twelve hundred singers. At the hour set all the street around were filled with people, although the air was filled with a misty rain. The singers and orchestra occupied a platform built for the purpose. A line of soldiers was drawn around this space, though it seemed hardly necessary, so polite and good - humored was everybody. That night will never be forgotten by me. I had lived long and suffered much, but I had reached at last more than I had dared to hope for – I was allowed, after so many years, to hear some music out-of-doors, a privilege I think no one ever enjoyed in my own dear country. The audience was attention itself. The least disturbance in the rear of the crowd was met by low hisses of disapprobation. Every note fell on every listening ear. And what music it was! — at times a band of trumpets hidden in the trees in a distant part of the park, answered the voices, and at last the bells — not “Carolus” and “Maria”—but a silvery chime, answered the trumpets as they sang with all the children's voices — for boys and girls sang, too. At the close, voices, orchestra, trumpets and bells repeated over after each other, a simple

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