Page images
[blocks in formation]

each for our passage-arrived at Bruges about seven o'clock in the evening. A great contention immediately ensued among the porters at the landing-place, but we had engaged a porter in the boat to convey our baggage, for a franc, to the Fleur de Bled. The walk to the city was pleasant, through a shady road lined with trees. A young man accosted us on the road who belonged to the Fleur de Bled; he was our Cicerone afterwards, for which we gave him four francs. It was very difficult to converse with him, his language being Flemish, with a slight smattering of French, English and German.


Previous to entering the gate we had to shew our passport at a little office just by, and to give in our ages, &c. We thence proceeded to the inn, chose our chamber, and afterwards took a walk through the town, along the canal which runs through it; returned by half-past eight to an ordinary supper (1 franc 60 cents a head). During supper three girls played the violin-Vive Henri Quatre, and some English tunes.

Sunday, 8th, (Festival of ST. FRANCISCUS.)Breakfasted and set out with our conductor to visit the churches (kerkke). Our guide very communicative, but difficult to understand. We entered the principal churches in which the morning service was being performed in the presence of numerous congregations. Here, and throughout the Netherlands,

[blocks in formation]

the pageantry of Catholic worship may be seen in perfection!

The church of St. Salvator contained some very fine paintings. The altar-piece has a beautiful painting of the Resurrection. We observed in different parts of the building seven altars besides THE HIGH ALTAR, each bearing the inscription "Unum ex VII. Altaribus." In the church of St. Anthony was to be seen a fine painting of the Women weeping over the Body of Christ. In another church, the Last Supper, by Carlo Dolci. Visited THE BRUGES ACADEMY for Painting, which consisted of four or five apartments, containing a few good pictures, viz. The Origin of Profile Painting, from a girl tracing the shadow of her Lover's face on the wall; A Painting of Rubens, by Van Dyck; A Head of Christ, the first picture in oil by John of Bruges; and, lastly, A picture of the TRINITY!! These were the objects in the Academy most worthy of our attention. Southey thus characterizes and compliments Bruges

When I may read of tilts in days of old,

And tourneys graced by chieftains of renown,
Fair dames, grave citizens, and warriors bold,
If fancy would pourtray some stately town
Which for such pomp fit theatre should be,
FAIR BRUGES-I shall then remember thee!

Poet's Pilgrimage.

Proceeding then to another part of the town, we came to the Chapel of the English Convent, the ex

[blocks in formation]

terior of which reminded me of the College of Physicians in London. We obtained entrance to view the interior, and found it, though small, very elegant and adorned with a dome and a very handsome altar. Two of the nuus were kneeling in a gallery like statues!

Dined at the ordinary at one o'clock; after which we again set out and saw le Lycée, which consisted of a long gallery adorned, or rather defaced, by some miserable daubings of landscapes. Leaving this place without regret, we visited more churches, ascended the tower (Dolletorre, la Grande Tour) over the Town Hall, situated in the principal square of the place. It contains a set of carillons or chimes, of which we saw the machinery, similar to that of a barrel organ, but on a large scale. As it was also furnished with keys like a piano-forte, I commenced God save the King, by which means some of the machinery became disengaged and the chime was in full play. The bells were, however, soon stopped by the man who was present, but the accident gave us an opportunity of seeing the operation of the machinery.

At five o'clock we witnessed the procession in honour of ST. FRANCISCUS, and the elevation of the Host before the altars erected at the corners of the different streets! A waxen image of the Virgin and Child formed a part of the exhibition. The streets were lined with soldiers. At the moment when the priest raised the host, the drums instantly beat and the soldiers knelt down, resting the butt end of their

[blocks in formation]

muskets on the ground! Garlands and banners of all kinds were suspended across the streets, whilst the houses were adorned with boughs and pictures of saints, &c. When this edifying spectacle closed, we returned to the inn to tea and supper.

Monday, 9th.-Rose at six o'clock and revisited the Church of St. Salvator, accompanied by our guide. Met with a priest in the church, who very obligingly pointed out the most striking of the pictures. Revisited also the Church of St. Catherine to view the Tombs of CHARLES THE BOLD and his QUEEN. They were inclosed in a kind of chapel or recess, and covered with painted cases of canvass. These cases being removed, we inspected the Tombs, which were extremely handsome and adorned with brass highly worked. A fine recumbent STATUE of brass surmounted each. We then returned to the inn and settled the bill, which amounted to 27 francs, including 3 francs 10 cents for the servants. Set out to the Canal-barge, about three quarters of a mile from Bruges. The BOAT had seats at the stern with a canopy spread above and a neat cabin below.

It is thus described by SOUTHEY in his Poet's Pilgrimage, with an incidental allusion to the Ca


The morning opens well,

Fair are the aspects of the favouring sky;

Soon yon sweet chimes the appointed hour will tell,

For here to music TIME moves merrily:

[blocks in formation]

Aboard! aboard! no more must we delay,
Farewell, good people of the Fleur de Bled!

Beside the busy wharf the Trekschuit rides,
With painted plumes and tent-like awning gay;
Carts, barrows, coaches, hurry from all sides,
And passengers and porters throng the way,
Contending all at once in clamorous speech,
French, Flemish, English, each confusing each !


THE BOAT left at a quarter past nine, drawn by four horses. Gliding on very smoothly, we dined at one, and enjoyed a good dinner for three francs each. Rainy day. Nothing particular in the country. A road on each side for the horses, lined with a row of trees; nothing was visible beyond but low trees and

« PreviousContinue »