Waldie’s Select Circulating Library, Volume 2
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Terms of Service
205 – 209
imagined that the hatred of the people was directed as well against the supposed sorcerer as against himself. So he kept himself on his tower, on the watch, revant dans son revoir, as Rabelais says, gazing sometimes upon the cell (Esmeralda’s abode,) sometimes on Paris, making sure guard, like a good dog, and with a heart full of distrust. “All of a sudden, while he was scrutinising the great city with the eye which nature by way of compensation had made so piercing that it almost supplied the want of his other organs, it appeared to him that the profile of the quay of La Vieille-Pelleterie assumed a singular appearance. There appeared to be motion about it; the black outline of the parapet, clearly defined on the whitening waters, seemed to him as no longer either straight or motionless like that of the other quays, but that it undulated to the eye like the waves of a river or the heads of a multitude marching onwards. This struck him as strange. He redoubled his attention. The movement appeared to be extending towards the city: it existed but a short time on the quay; it then subsided by little and little as if it were entering into the interior of the isle, it then suddenly ceased and the outlines of the quay became once more straight and motionless. “At the moment that Quasimodo had exhausted himself in conjecture, the movement re-appeared in the Rue du Parvis, which extends perpendicularly into the city from the façade of Notre Dame. At last, so intense was the obscurity, that no sooner did he see the head of a column debouch by this street, than the crowd spread itself over the precincts, where nothing could be distinguished but that it was a crowd. The sight was alarming. This singular procession could not approach without some noise or murmur, whatever silence might be kept: the trampling of the feet alone of so great a crowd must necessarily have sounded through the stillness of the streets. But no sound reached the brain of the deaf Quasimodo, and the vast multitude of which he could only catch glimpses, and which seemed to him noiseless, had the effect of an army of the dead, who had risen from their graves at midnight, mute, impal. pable, and ready to vanish into thin air. It seemed to him as if a mist full of human beings was approaching, and that what he saw in motion were the shadows of the shades.
“Then the fears of an attempt against the Egyptian returned to his apprehension. A confused notion presented itself to his mind that a crisis was approaching, and he began to reason on the danger of her situation with more method than might have been expected from a brain so imperfectly organised. Ought he to wake the Egyptian? Should he contrive her evasion? Where how ! the streets were invested : the church was washed by the river. No boat was to be had, and there was no outlet. There was but one alternative; he would die on the threshold of the cathedral, after making every resistance in his power until succour arrived. He resolved not to disturb the repose of his protegée; the unhappy creature would wake time enough to die. His resolution being taken, he set himself to examine the enciny with greater tranquillity. “The crowd appeared to increase every instant in the precincts. Quasimodo, however, conjectured that the noise they made must be very slight, for the windows of the street and the place remained closed. All of a sudden a light shone out, and in an instant seven or eight lighted torches appeared above the heads of the mass, brandishing their tufts of flame against the thick darkness. Then were disclosed to the rambling eye of Quasimodo whole troops of men and women in rags, armed with sickles, pikes, hedgebills, and halberts with their glancing heads. Here and there black forks stuck over hideous faces like horns. He seemed to have some vague remembrance of this multitude, and fancied that he had seen the same fashion of heads before (when he was elected fools’ pope.) A man, who held a torch in one hand and a weapon in the other, got upon a post and appeared to be haranguing. At the same time this strange army made some evolutions, as if it were being placed in stations round the church. Quasimodo picked up his lantern, and went down upon the platform between the towers, in order to be able to see more distinctly and arrange his means of defence. “Clopin Trouillefou, on his arrival before the lofty portals of Notre Dame, had, in fact, ranged his troops in order of battle. Although he expected no sort of resistance, he resolved, like a prudent general, to preserve such order as would enable him to face about in case of
Onze-congts. Accordingly he drew up his brigade in such a way, that, seeing it from above, you would have sworn it the Roman triangle of Ecnomus, the boar’s head of Alexander, or the famous wedge of Gustavus Adolphus. The base of this triangle rested upon the bottom of the place so as to block up the Rue du Parris, one of the sides looked upon the Hotel Dieu, the other on the Rue Saint-i’ierre-aux-Boeufs. Clopin Trouillefou was placed at the apex with the duke of Egypt, our friend John, and the boldest of the vagabonds.”—Vol. iv. p. 61. An attack of this kind may seem improbable to a modern reader; but in point of fact such popular movements were not even rare in the cities of the middle ages. “Police,” as we understand the term, did not exist. The rights of feudality were inconsistent with any common protection. There was no centre of force. The ancient cities were simply a collection of seigneuries; a thousand different polices existed, which is as much as to say, none were effective. At Paris, for instance, independently of the one hundred and forty-one seigneurs who pretended to manorial rights, there were twenty-five who claimed as well the privilege of dispensing justice. Of these the bishop of Paris had five streets, and the prior of Notre Dame des Champs had four. All these justiciars only recognised the right of the king as suzerain nominally. Louis XI. commenced the demolition of this absurd and inconsistent edifice of feudal times, and Mirabeau completed it. There existed a vast confusion of watches, under watches, and counter watches, in defiance of which robbery and plunder were carried on with open violence and by main force. It was not unfrequent for a part of the populace to make a set at a particular palace, hotel, or mansion, in the most frequented quarters of the city. The neighbours took care not to interfere in the affair unless the pillage extended to their own property; they shut their ears to the firing, closed their shutters, barricaded their doors, and let the struggle take its course, with or without the interference of the watch; and the next morning the talk in Paris would be, Stephen Barbette was broken open last night, or the Marechal de Clermont was seized, &c. So that not only the royal habitations, the Louvre, the Palace, the Bastile, Les Tournelles, but the mere seignorial residences, the Petit Bourbon, the Hotel de Sens, and the Hotel d’Angoulême, had their battlements and their walls, their porticullis, and their gates. The churches were in general protected by their sanctity; some of them, however, were fortified. The abbey of Saint Germain des Prés was built up like a baron, and it was said that the abbé spent more metal in balls than in bells. We may now resume our extract:— “As soon as the first arrangements were terminated, (and we ought to say, for the honour of the vagabond discipline, that the orders of Clopin were executed in silence and with admirable precision,) the worthy chief of the band mounted on the parapet of the Parvis, and raised his hoarse and husky voice, turning constantly towards Notre Dame, and at the same time waving his torch, the flames of which were sometimes nearly blown out by the wind, at others nearly drowned in its own smoke, now disclosed the reddened façade of the church, and now left it buried in darkness. “‘To thee, Louis de Beaumont, bishop of Paris, counsellor to the court of parliament, I speak, I, Clopin Trouillefou, king of Thunes, grand coèsre, prince of slang, bishop of jesters! Our sister, falsely condemned for magic, has taken shelter in thy church. Thou owest her safeguard and asylum. Now the court of parliament wishes to lay hold of her again, and thou consentest thereto, so that she would be taken and hung to-morrow in the place of the Greve, if God and the vagabonds were not there to stop them. Now we are come to thee, bishop. If thy church is sacred, then is our sister also; if our sister is not sacred, then is not thy church. Here then we are to summon thce to surrender our child if thou wishest to save thy church, or we will take the girl ourselves and pillage the church. And this will be well. In testimony I plant here my banner. God keep thee in his guard, bishop of Paris.” “These words, which unluckily Quasimodo could not hear, were pronounced with a sort of wild and sombre majesty. One of the vagabonds presented his banner to Clopin, who planted it solemnly between two paving stones. . It was a pitch-fork, on the teeth of which hung a huge bunch of bleeding carrion. “The King of Thunes then turned upon the wild forms assembled round him in the guise of an army, and after regarding their savage looks with complacency, he gave the word of onset, the order to charge—” to your business, blackguards,’ was the cry of Clopin de Trouil.
need, against any sudden attack of the watch or of the
“Thirty men sprung from the ranks, fellows with athletic limbs and the faces of blacksmiths, with mallets in their hands, clubs, pincers and bars of iron on their shoulders. They made for the great gate of the church, mounted the steps, and in an instant were crouched down under the arch at work with their pincers and levers. A crowd of the vagabonds followed to assist or look on. The eleven steps of the portal were crowded. However, the gates held firm. “Devil!” said one, “ they are hard and stiff; “they are old and their joints are of horn,’ said another. ‘Courage, comrades,’ replied Clopin, I will wager my head against an old shoe, that you will have opened the door, taken the girl, and stripped the chief altar, before there is a beadle awake. Hold’: I think the lock is picked.” Clopin was interrupted by a tremendous noise, which at this instant sounded behind him. He turned round. An enormous beam had iust fallen from the skies; it had crushed about a dozen of the vagabond army on the steps of the church, and rebounded on the pavement with the noise of a piece of cannon, breaking here and there a score or two of legs among the beggars, who sprung away in every direction. The blacksmiths, although themselves protected by the depth of the porch, abandoned the gates, and Clopin himself retired to a respectful distance from the church. “I have had a nice escape,’ cried John, ‘ I was in the wind of it, by Jove, but I see Peter the butcher is butchered.” “It is impossible to describe the fright which fell upon the mob with the fall of the beam. For some instants they stood motionless, staring in the air, more confounded than by the arrival of a thousand of the king’s archers: … Devil!’ exclaimed the King of Egypt, this does look like magic. It must surely be the moon that has thrown us this faggot,’ cried Audry-the-Red.’ ‘Why then the moon is own sister to Notre Dame, the Virgin, I think.’ ‘Thousand popes” exclaimed Clopin, “you are all a parcel of fools, but he did not know how to explain the fall of the beam. “Nothing was visible on the façade, the light of the torches did not reach high enough to show any thing, and all was silent except the groans of the wretches who had been mangled on the steps. The King of Tounes at length fancied he had made a discovery. ‘Maw of God!’ cried he, “are the canons defending themselves? if so, sack sack!’ ‘Sack sack!’ repeated the whole crew, and sack resounded in the court, bawled by hundreds of husky voices, and a furious discharge of gross-bows and other missiles was let fly upon the façade. “…This thundering noise at last awakened the people of the neighbourhood, and in sundry quarters might be seen windows opening, and night-caps popped out, and hands holding candles. ‘Fire at the windows,’ roared out. Clopin. The windows were all shut in an instant, and the poor citizens, who had scarcely had time to cast a hasty and frightened glance upon the scene of flash and tumult, returned back to perspire in terror by the sides of their wives; asking themselves if the devils kept their sabbath now in the Parvis, or whether there was another attack of the Burgundians as in ’64. The men dreamed of robbery, the women of rape, and all trembled. “‘Sack! sack!’ repeated the men of slang, but no one made a step towards the cathedral, they looked at the beam. The beam did not move, and the building preserved its calm and lonely air, but something had frozen the courage of the vagabond army. “‘To the work then, smiths’ cried Trouillefou; let us force the door.’ Not a soul moved. ‘Here are fellows,’ said he, “now, who are frightened out of their lives by a block of wood.’ An old smith came forward and said, “Captain, it is not the block of wood that frightens us, the gate is all bestitched with bars of iron, the pincers are of no use.’ ‘What want you then to knock it in “… “We want a battering ram: ‘Here is one then,’ said the King of Thunes, standing upon the beam, “the canons themselves have sent you one. Thank you, priests,” said he, making a mock obeisance to the church. This bravado had the desired effect; the charm of the beam was broken, and presently it was picked up like a feather by the vigorous arms of a hundred of the vagabonds, and hurled with fury against the doors which they had in vain endeavoured to force. The sight was an extraordinary one, and in the dusky and imperfect light of the torches, the beam and its supporters might have been taken for an immense beast with its hundreds of legs butting against a giant of stone. “The shock of the beam resounded upon the half.
inctallic door like a bell; it did not give way, but the church trembled to its foundations, and in its very innermost caverns. The same instant a shower of stones began to descend. “Hell and the devil’ roared out John, “are the towers shaking their battlements upon us?” But the impulse was on them; it was decided that the bishop defended his citadel, and the siege was continued with fury, in spite of the skulls that were cracked in all directions. The stones descended one at a time, but they came down pretty thick aster each other; the vagabonds always perceived two at a time, one at their feet and the other on their heads. Already a large heap of killed and wounded were heaped on the pavement; the assailants, however, were nothing daunt. ed; the long beam continued to be swung against the gates, the stones to rain down, and the door to groan.” Of course the reader divines the source of this opposition. The workmen, who had been repairing the walls of the southern tower during the day, had left their materials behind, and they consisted of immense beams for the roof, lead and stone. A sudden thought occurred to Quasimodo that they would make admirable means of defence. With a force which he alone could boast, he hoisted the largest and longest beam to be found and launched it fairly out of a small window upon the heads of the vagabonds at work on the steps. The enormous beam in descending one hundred and sixty feet acquired no small accelerated velocity, and hitting and bounding from pinnacle to corner and corner to wall as it fell, and again rebounding on the pavement among the besiegers, it seemed, to the eye of Quasimodo, like a hideous serpent writhing and leaping upon its prey. “Quasimodo saw the vagabonds scattered by the fall of the beam, like ashes before the wind. He took ad. vantage of this affright, and whilst they fixed a superstitious stare upon the block, fallen from the sky as they thought, Quasimodo set to work in silence to heap to. gether rubbish, stones, hewn and unhewn, even to the sacks of tools belonging to the masons, upon the cdge of the parapet; so that as soon as they began to batter the great gates, the hailstorm of stoneblocks commenced, and the vagabonds to think the church was demolishing itself upon their heads. If any eye could have seen – Quasimodo at his work, it would have been a sight of dread. Independently of all the projectiles he had accumulated on the balustrade, he had heaps of stones on the platform itself; so that as soon as the blocks on the outer edge were exhausted, he gathered from the heaps. He then might be seen lowering and rising, dipping and plunging with an activity altogether inconceivable. His great head, more like that of a gnome than of a human being, was to be seen inclining over the balustrade, then a block would fall, then another enormous stone, then another. From time to time he would follow a fine stone with his eye, and when it killed well he grunted ‘hun!’”—p. 76. However, the vagabonds did not flinch. The thick gates were trembling under the weight of the battering engine, the pannels were cracking, the carving sprung off in shivers, the hinges at each blow jumped up from the pivots, the boards began to separate, and the timber was ground to powder between the claspings and bindings of iron; luckily for Quasimodo there was more iron than wood. He perceived, however, that the door could not hold long, and as his ammunition declined, he began to despond. However, another bright idea struck him: the experiment he hit upon we shall describe in the author’s words. “At this moment of anguish he remarked a little lower than the balustrade whence he crushed the men of slang, two long spouts of stone, which disgorged immediately over the great gates. The interior orifice of the gutters opened on the level of the platform. He ran to fetch a faggot from his bell-ringer’s lodge, and placing it over the hole of the two spouts he covered it with a multitude of laths and rolls of lead, ammunition which he had not yet resorted to. As soon as all was arranged, he set fire to the mass with his lantern. “In this interval, the vagabonds, perceiving the stones had ceased to fall, no longer looked up, and the whole cavalcade, like a pack of hounds that have driven the boar to bay, now crowded round the gates, which, though all shattered by the battering engine, were still standing. They were all in expectation of the last grand blow, the blow that was to send the whole in shivers. Each was striving to get nearest to the door that he might be the first to dart into this rich reservoir of treasures that had been accumulating for three centuries. They roared with joy as they bandied about from one to another the names of silver crosses, copes of brocade, the gilded monuments, the magnificence of the choir, the dazzling fetes, and the christmasses sparkling with torches, the casters
brilliant with the sun, and all the splendid solemnities of chalices, chandeliers, pyxes, tabernacles, reliquaries, which embossed the altars with a crust of gold and diamonds. Assuredly, at this moment of bliss, the canters and whiners, the limpers and tremblers and tumblers, thought much less of the rescue of the Egyptian, than they did of the pillage of Notre Dame.
“All of a sudden, while by a last effort, they were grouping themselves about the engine, holding their breath and stiffening their muscles as for a final stroke, a howling, more hideous than that which followed the fall of the beam arose in the middle of them all. Those who were not yelling and yet alive, looked round. Two streams of boiling lead were pouring from the top of the building on the thickest part of the crowd. This stormy sea of men had subsided under the boiling metal: on the two points where it had chiefly fallen, two black and smoking holes were made in the crowd, such as hot water would cause in a drift of snow. The dying were writhing in them, half-calcined and roaring with pain. All about these jets of lead, the shower had sprinkled upon the besiegers and entered into their skulls like ramrods of flame. It was heavy fire, which riddled the wretches with a thousand hailstones .The clamour was horrific. The vagabonds fled pell-mell, throwing the beam upon the dead, the bold and the timid together, and the comrt was cleared a second time. All eyes were raised to the roof of the church. They beheld a sight of an extraordinary kind. From the top of the loftiest gallery, above the central rose-window, huge flames, crowned with sparkles of fire, mounted between the two towers, the fury of which was increased by the wind, which every now and then carried off a tongue of flame along with the smoke. Below this fire, below the sombre balustrade, two large spouts fashioned in the shape of monsters’ jaws vomited forth without cessation a silver shower of burning rain. As they approached the pavement the streams scattered like water poured through the thousand holes of the rose of a watering-pot. Above the flames were the two gigantic towers, the two fronts of which visible, the one black the other red, appeared still greater when viewed against the sky. The numberless sculptures of devils and dragons had an aspect of woe. The unsettled brilliancy of the fire gave them the appearance of life. The serpents seemed to be laughing, the water-spouts to be barking, the salamanders to be puffing the fire, the griffins to sneeze in the smoke. And amongst the monsters thus as it were awakened out of their slumbers by the noise and confusion, there was one in motion who was seen to pass from time to time in front of the fire like a bat before a candle.”—p. 83.
“A silence of terror fell upon the army of Vagabonds, during which might be heard the cries of the canons shut up in their cloister, more uneasy than horses in a stable on fire, together with the stealthy-opened noise of windows, the bustle of the interior of the houses, and of the Hotel Dieu, the wind in the flame, the last rattle in the throats of the dying, and the pattering of the lead. rain on the pavement.”
This formidable mode of resistance rendered a council of war necessary, at which the vagabonds resolved upon an escalade—it failed; the prowess of Quasimodo was again successful, he shook the besiegers off the lad. der and hurled them into the depths below. The contest was thus protracted till the arrival of a very considerable troop of gendarmerie and archers, acting under the immediate orders of the king. The unlucky vagabonds were utterly routed, and cither driven from the field or left upon it. The description of the siege is continued at great length; it is utterly impossible for us to carry on our report of it on the same scale as the preceding scenes, the spirit and animation of which have induced us to enter upon the translation of some considerable passages.
We are tempted to add another scene to the foregoing, which has few equals in any language. Esmeralda having been condemned, Quasimodo and the priest witness the cxccution from the roof of Notre-Dame.—Ed.
“Outside the balustrade of the tower, precisely under the spot where the priest had stopped, projected one of those fantastically carved spouts of stone, which jut out along the sides of Gothic edifices; and from a cre. vice of this gutter, two beautiful wall-flowers in full bloom, shaken, and rendered, as it were, living by the breath of the wind, were wantonly bowing one to the other. From aloft above the towers, far towards the sky, was heard the chirping of little birds; but the priest neither heard nor saw any thing of all this. Ile was one of those men for whom there are no morn
ings, no birds, no flowers; in that immense horizon, which opened so many aspects around him, his contemplation was concentrated on one single point. Quasimodo turned to ask him what he had done with the gipsy; but the Archdeacon seeined at that moment to be out of the world; he was visibly in one of those violent moments of life, when the earth might have given way under his feet, and he would not have felt it. His eyes invariably fixed on a certain spot, he remained silent and motionless, and this silence and this immobility had a something in them so fearful, that the savage ringcr shuddered before, and dared not encounter them. He only followed (and this was still a mode of questioning the archdeacon) the direction of his looks; and in this manner the eye of the unhappy deaf man fell on the place de la Grève. He thus beheld what the priest was looking upon. The ladder was raised near the stationary gibbet; there was an attendance of the populace in the square, and a great number of soldiers. A mar was dragging along the pavement something white, to which something black was clinging. This man stopped at the foot of the gibbet; here something passed that Quasimodo conla not see clearly, not that his single eye had lost its keenness of sight, but there was a knot of soldiers that prevented him from distinguishing every thing. Besides, at that moment the sun shone forth, and such a flood of light burst above the horizon, that it seemed as if all the points of all the buildings in Paris, steeples, chimneys, and gable tops, had taken fire at once. “Meanwhile, the man set about mounting the ladder; Quasimodo then saw him again distinctly—he carried a woman on his shoulder, a young girl dressed in white: this young girl had a halter about her neck. Quasimodo recognised her; it was herself. The man arrived at the top of the ladder, and arranged the knot of the halter. Here the pricst, in order to see better, placed himself on his knees, on the balustrade. On a sudden, the man abruptly pushed away the ladder with his foot, and Quasimodo, who for some moments past had not drawn a breath, saw the unfortunate girl dangle at the end c; a rope, two fathoms above the pavement, with the man crouching down upon her, his feet on her shoulders. The cord twisted round several times, and Quasimodo beheld horrible convulsions all down the gipsy girl’s body. The priest, on his part, with outstretched neck, and eyes starting from their sockets, watched the frightful group of the man and the girl—of the spider and the fly. At the moment when the whole was most dreadful to behold, a demon’s laugh, such a laugh as can only coine from one who has ceased to be a man, burst forth on his livid face. Quasimodo did not hear this laugh, but he saw it. The ringer drew back a few steps behind the archdeacon, and suddenly rushing with fury upon him, with his two huge hands he pushed him into the abyss over which he was leaning. “The priest cried out ‘damnation ” and fell. “The spout beneath him stopped him in his fall; in des. peration, he clung to it with his hands, and just as he opened his mouth to utter a second cry, he saw the fearful and avenging figure of Quasimodo pass on the brink of the balustrade above his head; seeing this he remained silent. The abyss was beneath him ; a fall of more than two hundred fect, and the pavement. In this terrible situation the archdeacon said not a word, gave not a groun; he only writhed on the spout, with surprising efforts to raise himself up, but his hands had no hold on the granite, his feet scratched against the blackened wall, without making good their footing. Those persons who have ascended the towers of Notre Dame, arc aware that there is a projection of the wall immediately underneath the balustrade; it was on the inward inclina. tion of this projection, that the wretched archdeacon exhausted himself. He had not to do with a perpendicular wall, but with a wall that receded from him. “Quasimodo would only have had to stretch forward his hand to save him from the precipice; but Quasimodo did not even look at him, he looked at la Gre re–he looked at the gibbet—he looked at the gipsy girl. The deaf ringer had placed his elbows on the balustrade at the spot where the archdeacon had stood the moment before ; and there, not listing his eye from the only object he had any consciousness of, he remained mute and motionless, as if thunderstruck, and a long torrent of tears fell silently from that eye, whence, till then, but one single tear had ever flowed. The archdeacon panted, his bald forehead streamed with perspiration, his nails bled upon the stone, his knees were grazed bare against the wall; he could hear his cassock, which had caught to the spout, crackle and give way at every shock he gave. To crown all, this spout was terminated by a leaden pipe, which bent under the weight of his
body, and he felt it slowly yielding to his weight. The unfortunate man could not but be certain that when his hands would be broken with fatigue, his cassock conpletely torn, and the lead bent down, he must fall, and terror chilled him to the heart. Sometimes he cast his eyes wildly upon a sort of platform, made by the sculpture, about ten feet lower down, and from the depth of his agonised soul, he demanded of heaven that he might be suffered to finish his life, were it to last a hundred years, on this space of two feet square. Once he looked down upon the abyss beneath him ; when he raised his head, his eyes were closed, and his hair stood bristling erect. “There was something awful in the silence of these two men. Quasimodo continued weeping and looking towards la Grève, while a few feet under him, the archdeacon was in this frightsul state of agony. Finding that all his efforts did nothing but weaken the frail support which remained for him, he had made up his mind to struggle no more. There he was, clinging to the spout, scarcely drawing his breath, not stirring, not moving, but with that mechanical convulsion of the body which we feel in a dream, when we think we are falling ; his fixed eyes opened wide, with a diseased, a terrified glare. Little by little, meanwhile, he was losing ground; his fingers slipped upon the stone; he felt more and more the weakness of his arms and the weight of his body; the bending of the lead that supported him inclincil every Inoment still further in the direction of the abyss beneath him: he could see, and a fearful sight it was for him, the roof of Saint Jean le Rond, as small as a card bent in two. He looked upon the motionless statues of the tower one after the other, all suspended, like him, over the yawning depth, but without fear for themselves or pity for him. Every thing was of stone around him ; before his eyes the gaping monsters, beneath, at the foot of the cathedral, the pavement; above his head, the weeping figure of Quasimodo. In the close, stood a few groups of idlers, who were coolly trying to guess what madman could be amusing himself in so strange a man. ner. The priest heard them say, for their voices came – up clear and sharp to his ear, “Why, he must break to his neck.” Foaming in a complete delirium of terror, to he at length became conscious that all was useless. … Nevertheless, he gathered together whatever strength he was still master of for a last effort. He stiffened him… a self upon the spout, pushed against the wall with his two knees, fastened both his hands in a slit of the stone – and was just on the point of getting a hold for one foot, when the struggle he was making caused the end of the – leaden pipe he was supported by, to bend abruptly down, … and with the same motion his cassock was ripped up. . . . . Finding, therefore every thing give way under him, and having no longer a hold but by his two stiffened and fail. ing hands, the wretched man shut his eyes, and let go the spout. He fell —Quasimodo looked at him as he
— “A fill from so great a height is seldom perpendicular; – he first launched into the air, his head was undermost, . … and his hands were stretched forth; he afterwards, T. turned several times round, and, finally, the wind drove o o him on the roof of a house; here began the fracturing |- of the unfortunate priest’s body, but he was not dead ‘i when he landed there. •The ringer beheld him still try. ing to clutch the coping with his nails, but the plane
was too much inclined, and he had no strength left; he slid rapidly along the shelving roof, like a loosened tile, and fell with a bound upon the pavement. There be stirred no more.”
THE BLACK WELVET BAG. By Miss Mitron D.
Have any of my readers ever found great convenience in the loss, the real loss, of actual tangiblo property, and been exceedingly provoked and annoyed when such property was restored to them : If so, they can sympn. thise with a late unfortunate recovery, which has brought me to great shame and disgrace. There is no way of explaining my calamity but by telling the whole story. Last Friday fortnight was one of those anomalies in weather with which we English people are visited for our sins; a day of intolerable wind, and insupportable dust; an equinoctial gale out of season; a piece of March unnaturally foisted into the very heart of May; just as, in the almost parallel mis-arrangement of the English counties, one sees (perhaps out of compliment to this peculiarity of climate, to keep the weather in countenance as it were) a bit of Wiltshire plumped down in the very middle of Berkshire, whilst a great island of the county palatine of Durham figures in the
centre of canny Northumberland. Be this as it may, on that remarkably windy day did I set forth to the good town of B., on the feminine errand called shopping. Every lady who lives far in the country, and seldom visits great towns, will understand the full force of that comprehensive word; and I had not been shopping for a long time: I had a dread of the operation, arising from a consciousness of weakness. I am a true daughter of Eve, a dear lover of bargains and bright colours; and knowing this, have generally been wise enough to keep, as much as I can, out of the way of temptation. At last a sort of necessity arose for some slight purchases, in the shape of two new gowns from London, which cried aloud for making. Trimmings, ribands, sewing silk, and lining, all were called for. The shopping was inevitable, and I undertook the whole concern at once, most heroically resolving to spend just so much, and no more; and half comforting myself that I had a full morning’s work of indispensable business, and should have no time for extraneous extravagance.
There was, to be sure, a prodigious accumulation of errands and wants. The evening before, they had been set down in great form, on a slip of paper, headed thus —“things wanted.”—To how many and various catalogues that title would apply, srom the red bench of the peer, to the oaken settle of the cottager—from him who wants a blue riband, to him who wants bread and cheese : My list was astounding. It was written in double columns, in an invisible hand; the long intractable words were brought into the ranks by the Procrustes mode—abbreviation; and, as we approached the bottorn, two or three were crammed into one lot, clumped, as the bean-setters say, and designated by a sort of short hand, a hieroglyphic of my own invention. In good open printing, my list would have cut a respectable figure as a catalogue too; for, as I had a given sum to carry to market, I amused mysels with calculating the proper and probable cost of every article; in which process I most egregiously cheated the shopkeeper and myself by copying, with the credulity of hope, from the puffs in newspapers, and expecting to buy fine solid wearable goods at advertising prices. In this way I stretched my money a great deal farther than it would go, and swelled my catalogue; so that, at last in spite of compression and short hand, I had no rootn for another word, and was obliged to crowd several small but important articles, such as cotton, laces, pins, needles, shoe-strings, &c. into that very irregular and disorderly storehouse—that place where most things deposited are lost—my memory, by courtesy so called.
The written list was safely consigned, with a well filled purse, to my usual repository, a black velvet bag; and, the next morning, I and my bag, with its nicely balanced contents of wants and money, were safely conveyed in a little open carriage to the good town of B. There I dismounted, and began to bargain most vigorously, visiting the cheapest shops, cheapening the cheap. est articles, yet wisely buying the strongest and the best; a little astonished at first, to find cvery thing so much dearer than I had set it down, yet soon reconciled to this misfortune by the magical influence which shopping possesses over a woman’s fancy—all the sooner reconciled, as the monitory list lay unlooked at, and unthought of, in its grave receptacle, the black velvet bag. On 1 went, with an air of cheerful business, of happy importance, till my money began to wax small. Cer. tain small aberrations had occurred, too, in my economy. One article that had happened, by rare accident, to be below my calculation, and, indeed, below any calculation, calico at ninepence, fine, thick, strong, wide calico, at ninepence, (did ever man hear of any thing so cheap?) absolutely enchanted me, and I took the whole piece : then after buying for M. a gown, according to order, 1 saw one that I liked better, and bought that too. Then I fell in love, was actually captivated by a sky blue sash and handkerchief—not the poor, thin, greeny colour which usually passes under that dishonoured name, but the rich full tint of the noon-day sky: and a capriband, really pink, that might have vied with the inside leaves of a moss-rose. . Then, in hunting after cheapness, I got into obscure shops, where, not finding what I asked for, I was sain to take something that they had, purely to make a proper compensation for the trouble of lugging out drawers, and answering questions. Lastly, I was fairly coaxed into some articles by the irresistibility of the sellers, by the demure and truth telling look of a pretty quaker, who could almost have persuad. ed the head off one’s shoulders, and who did persuade me that ell-wide muslin would go as far as yard and a half; and by the fluent impudence of a lying shopman,
who under cover of a well darkened window, affirmed, on his honour, that his brown satin was a perfect match to my green pattern, and forced the said satin down my throat accordingly. With these helps, my money melted all too fast: at half past five my purse was entirely empty; and, as shopping with an empty purse has by no means the relish and savour of shopping with a full one, I was quite willing and ready to go home to dinner, pleased as a child with my purchases, and wholly unsuspecting the sins of omission, the errands unperformed, which were the natural result of my unconsulted memoranda and my treacherous memory. Home I returned, a happy and proud woman, wise in my own conceit, a thrifty fashion-monger, laden, like a pedler, with huge packages in stout brown holland, tied up with whipcord, and genteel little parcels, papered and packthreaded in shopmanlike style. At last we were safely stowed in the pony-chaise, which had much ado to hold us, my little black bag lying, as usual, in my lap; when, as we ascended the steep hill out of B., a sudden puff of wind took at once my cottage-bonnet and my large cloak, blew the bonnet off my head, so that it hung behind ine, suspended by the riband, and fairly snapped the string of the cloak, which flew away, much in the style of John Gilpin’s, renowned in story. My companion pitying my plight, exerted himself manfully to regain the fly-away garments, shoved the head into the bonnet, or the bonnet over the head (I do not know which phrase best describes the manoeuvre,) with one hand, and recovercq the refractory cloak with the other. This last exploit was certainly the most difficult. It is wonderful what a tug he was forced to give, before that obstinate cloak could be brought round: it was swelled with the wind like a bladder, animated, so to say, like a living
thing, and threatened to carry pony and chaise, and
riders, and packages, backward down the hill, as if it had been a sail, and we a ship. At last the contumacious garment was mastered. We righted; and, by dint of sitting sideways, and turning my back on my kind comrade, I got home without any farther damage than the loss of my bag, which, though not missed before the chaise had been unladen, had undoubtedly gone by the board in the gale; and I lamented my old and trusty companion, without in the least foreseeing the use it would probably be of to my reputation. Immediately after dinner (for in all cases, even when one has bargains to show, dinner must be discussed) I produced my purchases. They were much admired; and the quantity, when spread out in our little room, being altogether dazzling, and the quality satisfactory, the cheapness was never doubted. Every body thought the bargains were exactly such as I meant to get—for nobody calculated; and the bills being really lost in the lost bag, and the particular prices just as much lost in my memory (the ninepenny calico was the only article whose cost occurred to me,) I passed, without telling anything like a fib, mercly by a discreet silence, for the best and thriftiest bargainer that ever went shopping. After some time spent very pleasantly, in admiration on one side, and display on the other, we were interrupted by the demand for some of the little articles which I had forgotten. “The sewing-silk, please ma’am, for my mistress’s gown.” “Sewing-silk! I don’t know—look about.” Ah, she might look long enough! no sewing-silk was there. “Very strange “—Prescntly came other enquiries— “Where’s the tape, Mary”—“The tape!”—“Yes, my dear; and the needles, pins, cotton, stay-laces, boot laces;” “the bobbin, the ferret, shirt-buttons, shoc-strings?”— quoth she of the sewing-silk, taking up the cry; and forthwith began a search as bustling, as active, and as vain, as that of our old spaniel, Brush, after a hare that has stolen away from her form. …At last she suddenly desisted from her rummage—“Without doubt, ma’am, they are in the reticule, and all lost,” said she, in a very pathetic tone. “Really,” cried I, a little conscience. stricken, “I don’t recollect; perhaps I might forget.” “Depend on it, my love, that Harriet’s right,” interrupted one whose interruptions are always kind; “those are just the little articles that people put in reticules, and you never could forget so many things; besides you wrote them down.” “I don’t know—I am not sure”—But I was not listened to; Harriet’s conjecture had been metamorphosed into a certainty; all my sins of omission were stowcd in the reticule; and before bed-time, the little black bag held forgotten things enough to fill a sack. Never was reticule so lamented by all but its owner; a boy was immediately despatched to look for it, and on his returning empty-handed, there was even a talk of having it cried. My care, on the other hand, was all directed to prevent its being found. I had had the good
luck to lose it in a suburb of B. renowned for filching, and I remembered that the street was, at that moment, full of people: the bag did actually contain more than enough to tempt those who were naturally disposed to steal for stealing’s sake; so I went to bed in the comfortable assurance that it was gone for ever. But there is nothing certain in this world—not even a thief’s dishonesty. Two old women who had pounced at once on my valuable property, quarrelled about the plunder, and one of them, in a fit of resentment at being cheated in her share, went to the mayor of B. and informed against her companion. The mayor, an intelligent and active magistrate, immediately took the disputed bag, and all its contents, into his own possession; and as he is also a man of great politeness, he restored it as soon as possible to the right owner. The very first thing that saluted my eyes, when I awoke in the morning, was a note from Mr. Mayor, with a sealed packet. The fatal truth was visible; 1 had recovered my reticule, and lost my reputation. There it lay, that identical black bag, with its nametickets, its cambric handkerchief, its empty purse, its unconsulted list, its thirteen bills, and its two letters; one from a good sort of lady-farmer, enquiring the character of a cook, with half a sonnet written on the blank pages; the other from a literary friend, containing a critique on the plot of a play, advising me not to kill the king too soon, with other good counsel, such as might, if our mayor had not been a man of sagacity, have sent a poor authoress, in a Mademoiselle-Scuderi-mistake to the tower. That catastrophe would hardly have been worse than the real one. All my omissions have been found out. My price list has been compared with the bills. I have forfeited my credit for bargaining. I am become a by-word for forgetting. Nobody trusts me to purchase a or. of pins, or to remember the cost of a penny riband.
am a lost woman. My bag is come back, but my fame is gone.
MIADEMOISELLE THEIRESE. By the SAME.
One of the prettiest dwellings in our neighbourhood, is the Lime Cottage at Burley-Hatch. It consists of a small low-browed habitation, so entirely covered with jessamine, honey-suckle, passion-flowers, and china roses, as to resemble a bower, and is placed in the centre of a large garden,_turf and flowers before, vegetables and fruit trees behind, backed by a superb orchard, and surrounded by a quickset hedge, so thick, and close, and regular, as to form an impregnable defence to the territory which it encloses—a thorny rampart, a living and growing chevaux-de-frise. On either side of the neat gravel walk, which leads from the outer gate to the door of the cottage, stand the large and beautiful trees to which it owes its name; spreading their strong, broad shadow over the turf beneath, and sending, on a summer afternoon, their rich, spicy, fragrance half across the irregular village green, dappled with wood and water, and gay with sheep, cattle, and children, which divides them, at the distance of a quarter of a mile, from the little hamlet of Burley, its venerable church and handsome rectory, and its short straggling street of cottages and country shops. Such is the habitation of Therese de G., an emigrée of distinction, whose aunt having married an English officer, was luckily able to afford her niece an asylum during the horrors of the revolution, and to secure to her a small annuity, and the Lime Cottage after her death. There she has lived for these five-and-thirty years, gradually losing sight of her few and distant foreign connections, and finding all her happiness in her pleasant home and her kind neighbours—a standing lesson of cheerfulness and contentment. A very popular person is Mademoiselle Therese—popular both with high and low ; for the prejudice which the country people almost univereally entertain against foreigners, vanished directly before the charm of her manners, the gaiety of her heart, and the sunshine of a temper that never knows a cloud. She is so kind to them too, so liberal of the produce of her orchard and garden, so full of resource in their difficulties, and so sure to afford sympathy if she have nothing else to give, that the poor all idolise Mademoiselle. Among the rich, she is equally beloved. No party is complete without the pleasant Frenchwoman, whose amenity and cheerfulness, her perfect general politeness, her attention to the old, the poor, the stupid, and the neglected, are felt to be invaluable in society. Her conversation is not very powerful either, nor very brilliant; she never says any thing remarkable—but then it is so good-natured, so genuine, so unpretending, so constantly up and alive, that one would feel its absence far more than that of a more showy and ambitious talker; to say nothing of the
charm which it derives from her language, which is alternately the most graceful and purest French, and the most diverting and absurd broken English ;-a dialect in which, whilst contriving to make herself perfectly understood both by gentla and simple, she does also contrive, in the course of an hour, to commit more blunders, than all the other foreigners in England make in a month. Her appearance betrays her country almost as much as her speech. She is a French-looking little personage, with a slight, active figure, exceedingly nimble and alert in every movement; a round and darkly-complexioned face, somewhat faded and passée, but still striking from the laughing eyes, the bland and brillant smile, and the great mobility of expression. Her features, pretty as they are, want the repose of an English countenance; and her air, gesture, and dress, are decidedly foreign, all alike deficient in the English charm of quietness. Nevertheless, in her youth she must have been pretty; so pretty that some of our young ladies, scandalised at the idea of finding their favourite an old maid, have invented sundry legends to excuse the solecism, and talk of duels fought pour l’amour de ses beaux yeur, and of a betrothed lover guillotined in the revolution. And the thing may have been so; although one meets every where with old maids who have been pretty, and whose lovers have not been guillotined; and although Mademoiselle Therese has not, to do her justice, the least in the world the air of a heroine crossed in love. The thing may be so; but I doubt it much. I rather suspect our fair demoiselle of having been in her youth a little of a flirt. Even during her residence at Burley-Hatch, hath not she indulged in divers very distant, very discreet, very decorous, but still very evident flirtations 2 Did not Dr. Abdy, the portly, ruddy schoolmaster of B., dangle after her for three mortal years, holidays excepted And did she not refuse him at last ! And Mr. Foreclose, the thin, withered, wrinkled, city solicitor, a man, so to say, smoke-dried, who comes down every year to Burley for the air, did not he do suit and service to her during four long vacations, with the same ill success. Was not Sir Thomas himself a little smitten ? Nay, even now, deos not the good major, a halting veteran of seventy—but really it is too bad to tell tales out of the parish—all that is certain is, that Mademoiselle Therese might have changed her name long before now, had she so chosen; and that it is most probable that she will never change it at all. Her household consists of her little maid Betsy, a cherry-cheeked, blue-eyed country lass, brought up by her. self, who with a full clumsy figure, and a fair, innocent, unmeaning countenance, copies, as closely as these ob. stacles will permit, the looks and gestures of her alert and vivacious mistress, and has even caught her broken English;-of a fat lap dog, called Fido, silky, sleepy, and sedate;—and of a beautiful white Spanish ass, called Donnabella, an animal docile and spirited, far beyond the generality of that despised race, who draws her little donkey-chaise half the country over, runs to her the moment she sees her, and eats roses, bread and apples from her hand; but who, accustomed to be fed and groomed, harnessed and driven only by females, resists and rebels the moment she is approached by the rougher sex; has overturned more boys, and kicked more men, than any donkey in the kingdom; and has acquired such a character for restiveness among the grooms in the neighbourhood, that when Mademoiselle Therese goes out to dinner, Betsy is fain to go with her to drive Donnabella home again, and to return to fetch her mistress in the evening. If every body is delighted to receive this most welcome visiter, so is every body delighted to accept her graceful invitations, and meet to eat strawberries at Burley Hatch. Oh, how pleasant are those summer afternoons, sitting under the blossomed limes, with the sun shedding a golden light through the broad branches, the bees murmuring over head, roses and lilies all about us, and the choicest fruit served up in wicker baskets of her own making—itself a picture the guests looking so pleased and happy, and the kind hostess the gayest and happiest of all. Those are pleasant meetings; nor are her little winter parties less agreeable, when, two or three female friends assembled round their coffee, she will tell thrilling stories of that terrible revolution, so fertile in great crimes and great virtues; or gayer anecdotes or the brilliant days preceding that convulsion, the days which Madame de Genlis has described so well, when Paris was the capital of pleasure, and amusement the business of life; illustrating her descriptions by a series of spirited drawings of costumes and characters done by herself, and always finishing by producing a group of Louis Scize, Maric Antoinette, the Dauphin and Madame
Elizabeth, as she had last seen them at Versailles—the only recollection that ever brings tears into her smiling eves.
*Mademiole Therese’s loyalty to the Bourbons was in truth a very real feeling. Her family had been about the court, and she had imbibed an enthusiasm for the royal sufferers natural to a young and a warm heart— she loved the Bourbons, and hated Napoleon with like ardour. All her other French feelings had for some time been a little modified. She was not quite so sure as she had been, that France was the only country, and Paris the only city of the world; that Shakspeare was a barbarian and Milton no poet; that the perfume of English limes, was nothing compared to French orange trees; that the sun never shone in England; and that sea-coal fires were bad things. She still, indeed, would occasionally make these assertions, especially if dared to make them ; but her faith in them was shaken. Her loyalty to her legitimate king, was, however, as strong as ever, and that loyalty had nearly cost us our dear Mademoiselle. After the restoration, she hastened as fast as a steam-boat and diligence could carry her, to enjoy the delight of seeing once more the Bourbons at the Tuilleries; took leave, between smiles and tears, of her friends, and of Burley Hatch, carrying with her a branch of the lime tree, then in blossom, and commissioning her old lover, Mr. Foreclose, to dispose of the cottage: but in less than three months, luckily before Mr. Foreclose had found a purchaser, Mademoiselle Therese came home again. She complained of nobody; but times were altered. The house in which she was born was pulled down; her friends were scattered; her kindred dead; madame did not remember her (she had probably never heard of her in her life;) the king did not know her again (poor man : he had not seen her for these thirty years;) Paris was a new city; the French were a new people; she missed the sea-coal fires; and for the stunted orange trees at the Tuilleries, what loy compared with the blossomed limes of Burley Hatch .
LETTERS FROM THE NORTH OF EUROPE. BY CHARLEs BoILEAU ELLIoTT, Esq.
From the London New Monthly Magazine.
One striking evidence of the rapid progress we are making in civilisation is the constant and increasing demand for travels and voyages. We are no longer contented to live within ourselves. The whole world is our theatre. We explore all its regions; nor is there a spot visited by the sun that is wholly unknown to us. Our enterprising countrymen go forth to collect their intellectual treasures, and return home to enrich us with their stores. Every month adds something valuable to the general stock. We enjoy the benefit without encountering the peril. We sympathise with danger, while we feel that it is past, and luxuriate in pleasurable emotions, while our hearts thrill with the interest which the daring adventurer has thrown round himself. This species of writing has also a charm for every reader. The man of science and the rustic, the scholar and the mechanic, sit down with equal zest to participate in the mental feast; and thus knowledge is widely diffused— knowledge which invigorates the inward man, enlarging his capacity, and extending the sphere of his enjoyments, and which prepares a whole nation for liberal institutions, which invests them with political and commercial importance, and thus raises them in the scale of nations. The success of works of this description stimulates enterprise, and opens the largest field for the useful employment of energies which might otherwise be wasted.
Mr. Elliott justly ranks among the most enlightened and intelligent of his class. His unpretending volume discovers an enthusiastic love of nature, and the most liberal views of man in all his diversified conditions. We scarcely ever read a work in which there is so little to censure and so much to approve. Unlike many of his brethren, he is a good writer: his style is pure and classical. He is likewise a philosopher and a Christian. We first become his willing associates, and our intercourse soon ripens into friendship. We close the book with reluctance, and take leave of him with a sigh of regret.
The above interesting work will appear in the next number of the “Library.”
PHILADELPHIA, JULY 16, 1833.
PRINTED AND Published by ADAM WALDIE, No. 6, North Eighth STREET, Philadelphia—At $5 for 52 numbers, payable in advance.
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We do not remember having perused a volume of personal narrative that afforded more satisfaction than the following tour through the north of Europe, from the pen of Mr. Elliott. His description of Norway, its fiords and fields, its magnificent mountain scenery and dashing torrents—the manners of the isolated inhabitants, many of them almost entirely removed from all contact with civilisation, so graphically depicted, and with so much fidelity, are highly entertaining and instructive. We have spoken of the fidelity of the narrative—of this our conviction is produced from the general character of the book. The style is vigorous and classical, the language of agentleman and scholar—and has all the appearance of having been written, as he says, for the private amusement and information of his friend, then travelling in South America. There is a rraisemblance pervading the whole that will effectually screen it from the too frequently just imputation of being of the spurious brood hatched in the brains of needy authors for the benefit of London booksellers. We believe we hazard little in saying that much of the ground over which the author travels is new to most American readers, and that he presents his scenes in a fresh and satisfactory manner. We should be glad to accompany such a gentleman as Mr. Elliott in other peregrinations. His views of Russian society and manners, &c. are of a late date—in fact it is the most recent work of any value
on the countries he visited. With more personal adventure, and through countries with which we are less familiar, in its graphic style and candour, it will probably remind many of Carter’s popular letters from Europe—a work which still continues to
be much read. –
The following letters, written, with one exception, from the places whence they arc dated, and addressed to private friends, are now submitted to the public. .They comprise little more than a journal, penned at moments snatched from the occupations of a traveller passing quickly through the countries he visited, and anxious to devote his time to the acquisition of information. The desire of the author in publishing this volume is to introduce to the notice of his countrymen the beauties of nature lying within their reach in the almost unexplored mountains of Norway; a tract of country which offers to the traveller, not an isolated prospect, but a succession of richly-varied landscapes rivalling those of the Alps and the Himala. Facts submitted to the observation of the author are recorded with fidelity; but the opinions hazarded regarding national character and civil institutions are not entitled to be received with equal confidence. They were the result of first impressions; and, as such, require confirmation by further experience or the concurrence of other minds. The manuscripts have been revised and enlarged by the author, who, in the additions to his original letters, has drawn chiefly on memory and his own private notes. For the dates of several historical events, and for a few
details interesting to a general reader which escaped his notice, he has referred to the writings of earlier travellers in the north ; as also to the able works of Sir Capel de Brooke, Captain Jones, and Dr. Granville; his obligations to all whom he takes this opportunity of acknowledging.
An occasional reference to ancient history has been inserted, as affording a means of comparing the former condition of the European world and the views of its historians with those of modern times.
The allusions to India will not be thought too frequent by those who are interested in our eastern possessions. Her political importance, the moral condition of her people, and the natural features of the country, have secured for India the attention of every one whose thoughts are occupied with politics, morals, or statistics: and in preparing for publication his private letters, the author considered it unnecessary to expunge the occasional allusions to a land where the first years of his life and his manhood were passed.
Queen’s College, Cambridge.
.Amsterdam, 24th June, 1830.
After a passage of twenty-six hours from London, we reached Rotterdam at noon on Thursday, the 17th instant. On Saturday we went to the Hague in a char a banc, and on Monday evening cmbarked on a boat, which conveyed us in three hours to Leyden. The following day carried us to Haarlem, and ycsterday evening we arrived at Amsterdam. I have entered into these details that you may follow me on the map, and because I intend to make my letters Iny journal.
Holland is a natural marsh, transformed by artificial means into arable land. Great changes have taken place on its surface, as you will readily believe if you cast your eye over the Zuider Zee in i. map, and recall to mind that in the first century of our era, it was occupied by the Batavi. Enormous mounds of earth are piled up as barriers against the encroachments of the sea, which at full tide rises, in some places, forty fect above the level of the land. The fortification of this country against the waters was undertaken as early as the time of Claudius Drusus, who constructed the first of the dykes that form the bulwark of the Hollanders; which have ‘ever since becn the wonder of Europe, and a lasting monument of industry and perseverance. As we walked at the foot of one of these artificial mountains, gradually sloping to its summit, where the breadth is about thirty feet, i. sea was washing its opposite side far above our heads. There was something in the sound of the waves, and the thought of their elevated proximity, which inspired a fear that they might involve us in destruction, by breaking down the “tall rampire” that
“Spreads its long arms against the wat’ry roar.”
But this fear was momentary, and yielded to admiration, as we contemplated the strength and skilful design of the dyke. The dykes vary in sizo and elevation according to their situation. Formed of stones and adhesive soil, they arc planted towards the sea with reeds which collect the sand that is thrown up. Thus receiving an annual accession of matter, the original structure is protected, while its breadth and stability increase. Where more than usual danger exists, a sceond and interior dyke is raised to secure the country in case the outer one should give way. The two are made parallel, and the intermediate space serves as a channel, commanded by sluices, to carry off an occasional flood; or, as on one occasion, to inundate an hostile army. The plains thus snatched from the legitimate dominion of the sea, are intersected by canals fortificq with locks. These, by a happy contrivance, allow the superfluous water to flow into the ocean, while the efforts of the intrusive waves only serve to close more firmly the barriers. The sides of the cannls are frequently planted with willows; and at this season the water-lilies and field flowers render almost picturesque a country which has little to boast in the beauties of nature. To the amphibious natives the canal offers a means of conveyance, at once readier, cheaper, and more agreeable, than the roads: and trekschuits, or track-boats, supply the place of stage-coaches. In passing through the country on
one of these barges, an Englishman can hardly fail to be struck with the peculiar propriety of our poet’s description, and the happy choice of his words, when he represents the ocean as peeping over the dyke, and wondering at “The slow canal, the yellow-bosomed vale, The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail; The crowded mart, the cultivated plain, A new creation rescued from his reign.”
The towns in Holland are very similar in their ar. rangements, so that the description of one may apply to all. The streets are broad and clean, being washed every morning; as are the fronts of the houses. Numerous canals of almost stagnant water, intersecting the towns, render them unhealthy in summer, and generate the diseases peculiar to marshy lands. The style of architecture baffles description, being as varied as the houses are numerous. The upper parts of adjacent buildings are seldom of the same elevation or form, but exhibit every grotesque shape that can be imagined; and generally, a house of three stories, with four windows on the ground-floor, has but one above; having decreased in size like the gable-cnd of a tiled cottage in England. Rotterdam, which derives its name from the Rottcr that here flows into the Meuse, contains about sixty thousand inhabitants. It was the birth-place of Eras. mus, of whom a statue in bronze stands on the principal bridge of the city. , A Latin inscription points out the little house where this great man was born. “Haec est parva domus magnus qua natus Erasmus.” H. tomb, if I remember right, is at Basle, in Switzerand. In this large commercial city the canals running through the streets are so large and deep, that, when filled by the tide, vessels of six or seven hundred tons can deliver their cargoes at the door of almost any principal warehouse. They are studded with draw-bridges divided in the centre, and wheeled by machinery to the sides in order to admit vessels, as often as may be necessary. The houses are very high, and strangely and irregularly built: there seems to be in many a foolish at. to imitate the Grecian style, but without taste or uniformity of design. The upper stories project beyond the lower; and some of the houses are so much out of the perpendicular, that the opposite roofs are almost in contact. I rather imagine that this is attributable to tho sinking of the piles which support the fronts of the buildings; the tops of which are thereby inevitably thrown forward. Great care is taken to prevent the farther depression of these piles; and, with this view, small sledges without wheels, drawn by one horse, are substituted by authority for wagons, which are prohibited, lest the vibration occasioned by their movement over a rough part should shake the uncertain foundation. The looking-glasses, which are occasionally seen as appendages to French and German houses, seem here to form the necessary exterior furniture of every window. They are fixed on projecting irons, and inclined at an angle, varying with the elevation of the spot, so as to reflect into the room the street with its motley groups and busy bodies. This absurd toy, contrived to promoto idleness, is worthy of the Hollanders,
“Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.”
The 18th of June is kept holy by the Dutch, (nearly all of whom are Protestants,) to commemorate the mercy of God in the result of the battle of Waterloo. I thought the English might profit by such an example.
We attended the service in the cathedral of St. Law. rence, to hear the organ, which, in the estimation of the Rotterdamese, rivals that at Haarlem. There are two thousand two hundred pipes; the largest are seventeen inches in diameter. The stops are not fewer than ninety; that called the “vor humana,” is said to be unrivalled, except by the corresponding one in the cathedral just mentioned. There is nothing remarkable in the architecture of the church, which is dull and heavy: and nothing in the interior to attract attention, except a brass balustrade, separating the nave from the choir, which exhibits skill and taste in the workmanship.
In the ride from Rotterdam to the Hague, a distance of twenty-seven miles, we passed through Delft, which