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Title: The Spell of Belgium
Author: Anderson, Isabel
Language: English
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    [Illustration: _Grande Place and Belfry, Furnes_ (_See page 249_)]

    _The_ SPELL _of_ BELGIUM

    Isabel Anderson
    Author of "The Spell of Japan," etc._



    _Copyright, 1915, by_

    _All rights reserved_

    Made in U.S.A.

    First Impression, October, 1915
    Second Impression, January, 1916
    Third Impression, June, 1917
    Fourth Impression, March, 1919
    Fifth Impression, January, 1922







Belgium has contributed generously to the world in the past. Much has
been destroyed in this ruthless war, but much remains, for Belgium had
much to give. How splendid are her unique guild-halls with their fretted
towers, her massive mediæval gates and quaint old houses bordering the
winding canals!

Through centuries, in one way or another, she has continued to hold the
world's admiration. In olden times, when the clever weavers wrought
historic scenes in their Flemish tapestries, they surely wove into the
hearts of our forefathers the Spell of Belgium. In Belgium, the home of
the violin, we have listened to the magic strains of the great masters
and been charmed by the musical verses of Maeterlinck. There, too, we
have gazed upon her inimitable Rubens and van Eycks. But today we stand
spellbound before the Belgians themselves, the heroes of this war.

The legends of Antwerp were written out by the eminent Flemish
historian, Sleeckx, over fifty years ago, and were found in the library
at Antwerp. This version has been translated directly from the Flemish,
and is believed to be unknown to the world, outside of Antwerp literary

I wish to thank Her Excellency, Madame Havenith, wife of the Belgian
Minister in the United States, for information, letters and photographs,
and Mrs. Abbot L. Dow, whose father, General Sanford, was one of the
most popular American Ministers ever in Belgium, as well as Miss Helen
North, who lived for many years in that beautiful country. I wish, also,
to thank the _National Magazine_ for the use of a portion of the chapter
on Motoring in Flanders. My thanks are due to Miss Gilman and Miss
Crosby, too, for their kind assistance.




       I. THE NEW POST















              I SYNOPSIS OF THE WAR






    GRANDE PLACE AND BELFRY, FURNES (_in full colour_) _Frontispiece._.










    A FLEMISH _KERMESSE_ (_in full colour_)











    AN OLD LACEMAKER (_in full colour_)














    SAND DUNES, NIEUPORT (_in full colour_)






    A VILLAGE IN THE ARDENNES (_in full colour_)



    CHÂTEAU DE WAULSORT ON THE MEUSE (_in full colour_)



    CITADEL, NAMUR (_in full colour_)

    NIEUPORT (_in full colour_)









[Illustration: _Sketch Map of BELGIUM and part of HOLLAND_]




The winter which I spent in Belgium proved a unique niche in my
experience, for it showed me the daily life and characteristics of a
people of an old civilization as I could never have known them from
casual meetings in the course of ordinary travel.

My husband first heard of his nomination as Minister to Belgium over the
telephone. We were at Beverly, which was the summer capital that year,
when he was told that his name was on the list sent from Washington.
Although he had been talked of for the position, still in a way his
appointment came as a surprise, and a very pleasant one, too, for we had
been assured that "Little Paris" was an attractive post, and that
Belgium was especially interesting to diplomats on account of its being
the cockpit of Europe. After receiving this first notification, L.
called at the "Summer White House" in Beverly, and later went to
Washington for instructions. It was not long before we were on our way
to the new post.

Through a cousin of my husband's who had married a Belgian, the Comte de
Buisseret, we were able to secure a very nice house in Brussels, the
Palais d'Assche. As it was being done over by the owners, I remained in
Paris during the autumn, waiting until the work should be finished. My
husband, of course, went directly to Brussels, and through his letters I
was able to gain some idea of what our life there was to be. He lived
for the time being in the Legation which had been rented by the former
Minister. Through another cousin, who had been American Minister there a
few years before, he secured much valuable information regarding his new
mission. I say new, because he had been in the Service for twelve years
before this--at first, as Second Secretary of Legation and afterward of
Embassy in London; then as First Secretary of Embassy and Chargé
d'Affaires in Rome.

The royal family had not returned to town, so he was compelled to wait
for an opportunity to present his credentials. Finally, however, he
received a notification that the King of the Belgians would grant him a
special audience at eleven o'clock on the eighteenth of November.


The ceremonial proved to be most interesting, everything perfectly done
and very impressive. Two state carriages of gala, accompanied by
outriders, came to the Legation a few minutes before eleven, bringing
Colonel Derouette, commanding officer of the Grenadiers, who was met at
the door by the Secretary of Legation, Mr. Grant-Smith. L. was escorted
to the great state coach, "which swung on its springs like a
channel-crossing steamer."

The steps were folded up, the door closed, the footmen jumped up behind,
and the little procession of prancing horses in gorgeous harness, with
two outriders on high-steppers, proceeded. Following this
carriage--which, by the way, was elaborately decorated and gilded, and
had lamps at all four corners--came the second state carriage with the
Secretary and the Military Attaché.

Passing through the broad, clean streets of the city, they soon entered
the wide square before the palace. This building, which is almost
entirely new within the last few years, stood behind parterres of sunken
gardens, beyond a broad _place_, with the old park opposite, through
which there was a vista with the House of Parliament at the other end.

The guard of carabineers was turned out as the procession passed, and
their bugles sounded the salute. The state carriages continued on
through the fast-gathering crowd, crossed the sunken garden, and entered
the porte-cochère of the palace, where a group of officials stood at
attention. L. was escorted up to the entrance and into the great
gallery, where were the major-domo and a line of footmen in royal red

At the foot of the grand staircase stood two officers in full uniform,
one wearing the delightfully old-fashioned, short green embroidered
jacket and the cherry-coloured trousers of the smart Guides Regiment.
When they had been presented, they turned and led the way up the great
staircase. At the top another aide of the King, Baron de Moor, a
strikingly handsome man who looked stunning in his uniform and
decorations, met them. Then in continued procession they passed through
great rooms, which were simple yet splendidly palatial in style, with
fine paintings and frescos, but with little furniture.

Finally L. came to a room where the King's Master of Ceremonies, Comte
Jean de Mérode, came forward, and was presented. He disappeared through
a door, saying that he would go and take the King's orders, and returned
immediately with the word that His Majesty was ready.

"The doors were opened _à double battant_ by servants standing at each
side," L. wrote in his letter describing the audience; "I was rather
taken by surprise, for the room into which I was being ushered was a
vast apartment, and not like the small state rooms in which on previous
occasions I had been introduced for reception by royalty. The officials
took their positions at a distance, in a semi-circle, so that any
conversation could have been entirely confidential. I advanced, making
my three bows.

"The King is a tall, fine, clean-looking man. He was dressed in simple
military uniform, wearing but one star."

L. expressed his appreciation for the granting of the audience and the
opportunity it gave of presenting his letters of credence, as well as
his predecessor's letters of recall, and of conveying a message of
greeting from the President of the United States with assurances of the
sympathetic interest of the American people in Belgium's progress.
When the King had received the letters and handed them to a
gentleman-in-waiting, he conversed with my husband in a very low tone,
speaking of his visit of fifteen years ago in America, and of his
admiration for the American people and for their great advances in
matters of science and hygiene, especially of the successful sanitary
work which we had accomplished in Panama.

They talked of the house which we had taken, and the King said that he
had lived in it for nine years, and that all of his children had been
born there. He expressed his admiration for President Taft, and said
that he very frequently read his speeches and wished to send a message
in return in acknowledgment of the President's greetings.

When the King indicated that the audience was over, the party bowed
itself backward out of the room, and the procession re-formed in the
next salon. L. had been notified that immediately after his audience
with the King he would be received by Her Majesty the Queen. So the
procession passed in similar order through a series of salons and
corridors, the different gentlemen leaving him at the points where they
had met him on his entry, their places being taken by others of the
Queen's _entourage_. So they came to a smaller but still handsome suite
of apartments, where the Queen's Master of Ceremonies met them. He also
disappeared through a door to take Her Majesty's orders, and returned to
say that my husband was to be received at once. As the room was not so
large as that in which the King had received him, the approach to the
Queen was easier.

"The Queen is petite and charming," he wrote me; "from what those who
escorted me said, she is looking very much stronger than she has since a
recent serious illness. They all seem to be delighted at her recovery.
She is exceedingly sweet and gracious, and speaks with a little manner
of shyness. She was very simply dressed in what I should call a rose
chiffon with a little scarf of black and white chiffon over her
shoulders. (I hear she is very fond of pretty clothes.) She asked about
the President, and I told her of his health and activities, and of his
trip through the states. Her Majesty also spoke of the Palais d'Assche
and of their life in it, asked after you, Isabel, and spoke of my
cousin, Caroline de Buisseret. I tried as best I could to answer her
gentle inquiries."

During the afternoon L. and his secretary made visits on the court
officials and the chief members of the Government, leaving cards on the
Queen's ladies-in-waiting and grand-mistresses and on the members of the
Cabinet, as well as on the Governor of Brabant, and on Burgomaster Max.
He was received by the Papal Nuncio, the _Doyen_ of the Diplomatic
Corps, with much ceremony, and found him to be a typical, good-looking

Burgomaster Max has had an interesting career since we met him in
Brussels. Before his day there were two famous burgomasters who had
served their city with special distinction. The first was Chevalier de
Locquenghieu who, in 1477, had the Willebroeck Canal built, through
which the Prince of Orange made his entry into town. The second was
Baron de Perch, who was chosen seven times to serve as burgomaster when
the glory of Brussels was at its height, early in the seventeenth
century. By their side today stands a third--Monsieur Adolphe Max.

When the German army was approaching the city it was he who discussed
the situation with the American Minister, Mr. Brand Whitlock, and with
the Spanish Minister, Marquis Villaloba, as the King and his Cabinet had
already removed to Antwerp. They all agreed that, with the troops
available, the city could only hold out for a short time against the
Germans, that many lives would be sacrificed, and art treasures and
historic buildings destroyed. Brussels must surrender.

[Illustration: BURGOMASTER MAX.]

Soon after entering the city the German general sent for Max. When he
came into the room the general pulled out a revolver and thumped it down
on the table. Looking him straight in the eye, the burgomaster pulled
out a pen and thumped that down on the table beside the general's
weapon. The challenge of the pen and the gun--which, I wonder, will
prove stronger in the end?

Under the Germans the life of the city continued peacefully, although
somewhat changed. The new rulers issued paper money for war currency.
The citizens were expected to pay their tradesmen with it, and were
assured that it was "just as good as gold." But when Burgomaster Max
offered it to the German general as payment of the huge indemnity
required of Brussels it was refused, and gold demanded instead. Max
later had trouble with the authorities, and as he had made several
speeches to the populace he was sent to a prison in Germany. The last I
heard of him he was still there.

Not long after my husband's presentation at Court came the King's
name-day, an occasion for fêtes and gala. The streets were gay with
marching soldiers and people in their best clothes. There was a Te Deum
at the church of St. Gudule, and of course the Diplomatic Corps went in
full dress uniform to do honour to the King. Their carriages joined in
the procession, while the cavalry deployed about and escorted the state
officials. At the church doors officers received the arrivals, and as
each Minister passed inside the portal the orders rang out in the quiet
church. There was a clank of arms as a guard of honour, standing on each
side of the transept aisle, came to "present arms," and a ruffle of

When the Queen came--the King did not attend--she was met by the Papal
Nuncio and prelates and escorted by priests, while the band played a
solemn march with slow beat of drums. So she passed up into the chancel,
bowing to the altar and to the diplomats and the Ministers of State.
Then she passed beneath the baldachino with the King's mother, the
Comtesse de Flandre, and the little Crown Prince, the Duc de Brabant,
who was all in white. About them knelt the gentlemen- and

The priests intoned before the altar, and the music took up the
beautiful and impressive service, part of which dates back eight hundred
years. High at one end a choir and orchestra were in a gallery, and
joined the great organ in filling the vaults with lovely harmonies as
the mass proceeded, while the scent of incense rose through the soft
haze of the interior to the famous stained-glass windows above.

The Queen sat beneath her canopy at the side of the high altar with her
little court surrounding her, the diplomats in their full regalia were
in a group at one side, the Ministers of State in their uniforms in a
group at the other, with the judges of the court in their scarlet robes
which made bright splashes of colour. The military music resounded in
slow marches and re-echoed through the spaces where candles only dimly
lighted the shadows.

When they came out of church they noticed above them, floating in the
sky, a great dirigible balloon, manoeuvering majestically over the
city, silent and impressive. How little did they think that similar
balloons would so soon be dropping bombs upon their peaceful country!

That evening the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave a gala dinner in
honour of the King's fête-day, and all the Chiefs of Mission and some of
the court dignitaries attended. Madame Davignon, wife of the Minister,
a handsome and distinguished woman, received with His Excellency. The
gathering was impressive, and the diplomatic uniforms were rich with
gold lace and decorations. Madame Davignon presided at this dinner of
men only, the Minister sitting opposite her at the U-shaped table. Some
plenipotentiaries were accredited to Paris as well as to Brussels, and
came on for special functions. Although these were mostly South
Americans, they were very fine in their regalia, as were also the Turks
in their fezzes and the Persians in their astrakhan hats. After dinner
there was a real "_recivimento_," when distinguished people came in to
pay their respects to the Minister of Foreign Affairs without
invitation, as used to be the custom in Rome.

A few days after that L. made up a little party and ran out to Termeire,
the de Buisseret château. The motor trip took about an hour and a half,
the car running smoothly and swiftly between villages and jiggling over
the famous Belgian blocks that pave the towns. The country was like
France, with the ditches on either side of the road and the rows of
trees, and like Holland, too, with its canals. About the château there
was an extensive park with game, where they hunted in the autumn, and
_étangs_ and bridges and fine old trees.[1]

     [1] The story of the de Buisseret misfortunes since
     the war began has been a sad one, like that of many of the
     Belgian aristocracy. Their château, which we visited so often,
     has been destroyed, Madame de Buisseret has died, and the
     children are scattered.

After luncheon they visited the lovely château of the Duc d'Ursel, where
they met the Duchess, who has been in Paris since the war began, having
established there the Franco-American OEuvre des Soldats Belges. They
also met the charming, old-world Duchess Dowager. From there they ran
along the banks of the Scheldt to the Pavillon, a most interesting
little building, both in architecture and decoration.

It may be that there were more châteaux in the south, in the Walloon
provinces, but Flanders was by no means lacking in fine old houses.
Melis, the Edmond de Beughems' place, was quite enchanting. A long
avenue of deep trees brought one to a stone gateway with the family arms
sculptured above it, and fortified walled buildings stretching away on
either side. Crossing a garden and a moat, one came to the entrance of
the quaintest little old château imaginable.

On one side its gray walls dipped straight down into the moat, while on
the other were green lawns and bright-coloured gardens, with splendid
overhanging trees and a still lagoon with white floating swans. Beyond
the deep, protecting waters were the forests of the park, with long
alleys leading the eye to far-away vistas.

From the bridge above the moat one passed beneath the old portcullis and
the bastion with its loopholes into a little lop-sided courtyard. Here
the walls were all pinkish and yellow, the old brickwork breaking
through the ochre plaster placed on it in a different generation and
overgrown with ivies and climbing roses. Indoors the rooms were low and
tiny and filled with old-fashioned furniture.

Melis was not a great and battlemented fortress, but a small and
homelike place, so miniature that it seemed as if one might put it in a
pocket. No doubt it really was, as the family admitted, very cold and
damp and uncomfortable, but on a warm sunny day it appeared quite one's
ideal of what a château in Flanders ought to be.

While I was still staying quietly in Paris, I found much pleasure in
reading about the historic old city which I was so soon to see.

Its legends attracted me especially. There was one, for instance, about
Guy, the poor man of Anderlecht. His parents were serfs, and he began
his career as a labourer in the fields of a nobleman who lived near the
castle of Brussels. It happened one day that Guy's fellow-workmen
complained to their master, who provided them all with their midday
meals, that Guy always took part of his share of the food home to his
parents and consequently was late in beginning the afternoon work. The
master was very indignant and went to the fields himself the next day to
see if it were true, and to thrash the young man soundly if he did not
return on time. Sure enough, when the moment came to begin work again,
Guy failed to appear. But--in his place at the plow stood an angel!

It was said that the devil never tried but once to tempt Guy. That was
when a rich Brussels merchant entered into partnership with him,
promising to make his fortune. On his first journey down the river Senne
after this his boat ran upon a sand-bank. When Guy seized a pole to push
off, his fingers became fastened to it and he could not release them
till he had made a solemn vow that he would give up forever the search
for wealth. Even during his lifetime he was regarded as a saint, and
pilgrims fell on their knees before him. When he lay dying it was said
that a heavenly light filled the room. The oldest church in Brussels,
where he used to pray as a child, was afterwards dedicated to him, its
name being changed from St. Peter to St. Peter and St. Guy.

It is Michael the Archangel, however, and not Guy, who is the patron
saint of Brussels. A statue representing him with his foot upon a dragon
was placed on the spire of the Hôtel de Ville by Philip the Good about
1450, and has stood there resplendent ever since. He survived even the
religious wars of the sixteenth century, although the mob did not look
upon him with a very indulgent eye.

The castle of Brussels, mentioned in connection with the legend of Guy
of Anderlecht, was doubtless that built by Duke Charles of Lorraine, the
grandson of Charlemagne, in 981. It stood on an island in the river,
next to the church of St. Géry, and is supposed to have been the first
dwelling in this region. The city's name, "Bruk Sel," means the "manor
in the marsh." One of Duke Charles's daughters married Count Lambert of
Lorraine, who built a wall about the little town to keep out robber
knights. Seven noble families, of whom the de Lignes show quarterings
today, built houses of stone near the seven gates, which were guarded by
their retainers. For that reason seven is considered Brussels' lucky

During the next two centuries many knights left Brussels for the
crusades. Few people know that it was a little Belgian page, named
Blondel, who sang "A Mon Roi" outside Richard Coeur de Lion's window
when he was taken prisoner at this time. Under the weak hand of Count
Godfrey the Bearded, in the twelfth century, the citizens of the town
seized the opportunity to establish for themselves a position midway
between the serfs and the nobles. In the following century they won
still more privileges--or rather, bought them--of their duke, John the
First, who needed money to carry on his wars. When he was killed in
battle his successor found the townspeople were becoming too powerful
for his liking, and did what he could to keep them in hand.

This city on the Senne first sprang into importance about the year 1200,
when the great highroad was built from Bruges to Cologne, making
Brussels a station on the busy trade route. The town gradually spread on
to the surrounding hills. When the population was about fifty thousand,
in the fourteenth century, the weaving industry was started. The counts
of Louvain made their homes there, and the dukes of Burgundy, who united
Flanders and Brabant, frequently held their courts there in the century
following. During the reign of these powerful dukes the city became so
prosperous that it was outranked only by Ghent and Bruges.

Andreas Vesalius, a native of Brussels, born in 1515, deserves mention,
as his name stands out in the scientific history of the world. He is
called the "Founder of Human Anatomy," because of his discoveries. After
studying at Louvain he became court physician to Charles V, and a
distinguished professor and author. It is told how once when "Vesalius
was dissecting, with the consent of his kinsmen, the body of a Spanish
grandee, it was observed that the heart still gave some feeble
palpitations when divided by the knife. The immediate effect of this
outrage to human feelings was the denunciation of the anatomist to the
Inquisition. Vesalius escaped the severe treatment of that tribunal only
by the influence of the King, and by promising to perform a pilgrimage
to the Holy Land." On this voyage he was shipwrecked in the Ionian Sea,
and was buried on the island of Zante.

From the beginning of its history Brussels has been the center of much
fierce fighting. Men--and women, too--have led their armies to its
attack or defense, and many thousands have died about its walls. In
1695, Marshal Villeroi of France bombarded it, reducing the lower town
to ashes. Less than forty years later Marshal Saxe repeated the
performance. For all that it has continued to grow and prosper. Under
the Hapsburgs it was made the capital of the Low Countries, and in 1830
it was recognized as the capital of the new nation of Belgium.

The last remains of its walls were removed by the late King, Leopold II,
in his effort to make the city more sanitary. Besides this, he did much
to modernize and beautify it as well. It became a model little capital,
made up of many _communes_, forming in all a city about the size of
Boston. The more I read about it, and the more I learned of the life
there, the more eager I became to see it all for myself, and it was with
joy that I finally received word that we could move into our new home.



The American Legation in Brussels was in the Quartier Leopold, on one of
the many hills on which the city was built. It was owned by the Comte
d'Assche, not by our Government, but it had been used as the American
Legation when Mr. Bellamy Storer was Minister, and after we left it was
also the Legation under Mr. Marburg. Mr. Brand Whitlock, the present
Minister, however, took another house near by, I understand.

The Palais d'Assche was one of the handsomest legations in Brussels,
having a park in front and a pretty garden behind. We moved into the
Legation immediately after my arrival in Brussels, although the workmen
were still in the house. I describe the Palais d'Assche because it is so
different from our American homes.

Just within the passage leading to the courtyard, which was entered
through an arch that could be closed with doors, and down a few
steps, were the rooms of the concierge and his wife. To the left of
the passage were the offices and the grand staircase, to the right the
private entrance and my husband's suite. At the head of the stairs
leading to the second floor, and on the garden side, was the library,
which was made homelike with our books, pictures and rugs. As this room
had a huge fireplace and a big window, giving us all the light possible,
it was really cheerful, and we spent most of our time in it; in fact, we
always dined here when we had no guests. I remember especially these
evenings alone when we put out the lights and enjoyed the moon shining
through the great window, and listened to the church bell that echoed
through the wide chimney.


My bedroom and boudoir were also on this floor, and opened into one of
the great salons. The bedroom, which had been the present Queen's
sleeping room, was very large, and was hung in rose-coloured brocade. It
contained a few superb pieces of carved furniture with brass trimmings
and inlaid crowns. I had the comfort of an open fire in the boudoir;
indeed, I needed its cheeriness, for the sky was always gray, and we
were forced to turn on the lights even early in the morning.

On the garden side of the house was a long gallery, into which the
dining room broke in the center. The reception rooms were square with
high ceilings and mostly finished in white and gold. The house had been
partly done over by a French architect, and the interior decorations
were very handsome. At one end of the palace, passing up over the
legation offices, was the grand staircase, which was opened only on
special occasions. The heating was very imperfect, according to American
ideas, for although there was a furnace, the ceilings were so high that
the heat made little impression.

At the foot of the garden, behind the house, were the stables and the
garage. From the porte-cochère the drive passed round both sides down to
the stables, and in the center was a lawn with a screen of shrubbery.
There were some handsome large trees, and several smaller ones that were
trained upon trellises by the side walls, so that it promised to be a
pleasant, shady place in the summer time.

By dint of much hurry and rush the house was gotten in order for
Christmas Day. The workmen were in their last entrenchments on the great
stairs on the 23d, and then fortunately disappeared forever. Our few
belongings were quickly put in place. The tapestries and pictures
were hung in the salons, and at last the Christmas tree was lighted.


In Belgium, very little is made of Christmas. Presents are given on St.
Nicholas' Day, but their real celebration is at New Year's. We did our
best, however, to make it seem like a New England Christmas. As a part
of our diplomatic duties, we gave a reception for the Americans in
Brussels. About seventy-five came, including every sort of person. L.
and I received in the library, where the tree lighted up prettily, the
music in the ballroom was good, and our guests danced and ate, and I
think enjoyed themselves.

We had our share of servant troubles at the Legation. At one time we
were on the point of sending away our chef, but he wrote L. a little
note saying that he felt he must leave us and permit a more "valiant
one" to undertake our large household. As we had already telegraphed to
England for another, this was not so unfortunate as it might seem.

At another time our concierge, whom we thought a model of good
behaviour, "ran amuck," and we had a series of scenes. He began to talk
incoherently in the kitchen, and to complain because the automobiles
went in and out so often, declaring that the chauffeurs were in league
against him. Then he appeared with his coat off and rushed about the
house with a loaded revolver in each hand, challenging the men servants
to fight. Later, as he would not come when summoned, my husband took him
by the coat collar and put him out of the house. After he had been away
three days and the pistols had been safely hidden, we decided, for
various reasons, to give him another chance, and, curiously enough, his
conduct was perfect all winter.

My first important duty was to call on the ladies in the diplomatic
circle, and I went in company with Comtesse Clary, the wife of the
Austrian Minister, who was the _Doyenne_ of the Diplomatic Corps. I was
indebted to the Comtesse de Buisseret for many little points of
etiquette that Europeans and diplomats are extremely careful about, but
which Americans often do not consider, such as sitting on the left of
your carriage and putting your guest on the right. It is also polite of
the hostess to ask a distinguished guest to sit on the sofa when
calling, and the manoeuvering for the proper seat is sometimes as
complicated as the Japanese tea ceremony. A stranger, after speaking to
the hostess, must ask almost at once to be introduced to the other
guests. If they are Belgian ladies, the newcomer is supposed to leave
cards within forty-eight hours, and the task of finding the correct
names and addresses is a great nuisance, for there are endless members
of certain well-known families.


The King and Queen were very popular, even in those days, and both were
young and good looking. They have three fine children, the two boys
bearing the splendid historic titles of the Duc de Brabant and the Comte
de Flandre. The youngest of the three is the fascinating little Princess
Marie José, who is idolized by the people. His Majesty is the nephew of
the former King Leopold, and the Queen is the daughter of His Royal
Highness, Charles Theodore, a Bavarian Grand Duke. King Albert, before
he succeeded to the throne, had traveled in America, and he always had
very pleasant things to say of his visit here. His town residence was
the Winter Palace, now a hospital, which was not very far from the
Legation; the Summer Palace at Laeken, occupied of late by German
officers, is about half an hour's distance from Brussels by motor.

My private audience with the Queen was granted within a week after my
arrival in Brussels. I was told to wear a high-necked gown with a short
train, a hat and no veil--veils are not worn before royalty. Her Majesty
received me standing, then asked me to sit on the sofa with her. I found
her very pretty and sweet. I courtesied and waited for her to speak--as
is customary--and then we talked upon different subjects for about
twenty minutes, until she closed the interview.

Of the various functions at Court, the balls were the most brilliant.
The women wore gowns with rather long trains, quantities of old lace,
and superb jewels, and with the gorgeous Hungarian uniforms, the endless
orders, and the varied coats of the Chinese, the scene was dazzling.
According to the rank of one's husband, or according to the length of
time he had been in Brussels as Minister, the wives took their places in
the "circle" which was formed in the "Salon Bleu," a room for "Serene
Highnesses" and diplomats. The King and Queen made a tour of the
apartment, speaking to the ladies on one side, the men on the other, as
they do at most court functions. As each person courtesied to Their
Majesties, it was a pretty sight to see the courtesies follow them down
the line like a slow-moving wave.

After this, all the members of the Diplomatic Corps who had any of their
compatriots to present, formed another circle in an adjoining room,
where again the King and Queen passed down the line, and each one of us
made our presentations. Then the royal party and the diplomats passed in
procession through the dense throng, crossing the ballroom, a great
white and gold hall, to seats on a little raised daïs to the right of
the throne chairs, where the diplomats watched the dancing, while to the
left the Ministers of State gathered with their wives. During the
evening there were repeated processions headed by the King and Queen, in
which the Diplomatic Corps joined, first to a winter garden, where tea
and simple things were served, then to a supper room all marble and
glass, where the table was magnificent with the famous old gold service.
After our return to the ballroom there was more dancing. Finally the
King and Queen withdrew, and then the guests were at liberty to go home.

The royal dinner given for us at the Winter Palace was delightful. In
Belgium every Envoy used to receive the honour of a dinner, at which the
King took in the Minister's wife on his arm, and the Minister escorted
the Queen. Their Majesties sat together in the center of the table, the
Minister on the right of the Queen, the Minister's wife on the left of
the King. At each Court I believe the custom is a little different. In
Italy they give a retiring Ambassador a dinner; in Germany the diplomats
are all asked together at one dinner; in Russia the Czar does not eat in
the same room with the foreign diplomats and the Ministers, I am told;
and in Japan they give a luncheon, where you are placed at the same
table with Their Majesties, but members of the Diplomatic Corps do not
sit next to the Emperor or Empress, who have on either side of them some
member of the royal family.

One of the pleasantest occasions of the winter was our reception and
dinner with the Comtesse de Flandre, the mother of the King. We passed
up the great staircase with the red carpets, lined with footmen in red
coats and knee breeches and wearing their many medals, just as at the
King's palace. At the door the Grand Maître and the lady-in-waiting
received the guests in a small room of white and gold, with portraits of
the royal family on the walls. The doors were opened and the Countess
entered, and spoke to each person. She was elderly and dressed in black,
and had a very pleasant, attractive face. The guests, who numbered about
forty, included the Spanish, French, English and American
representatives. At table, the Grand Maître sat opposite Her Royal
Highness, the diplomats had the high seats, and the others down the
table were Belgians of different degrees of distinction. We returned to
the reception room at the close of the dinner, and the Countess asked us
all to be seated, and sat first with one group and then with another.

[Illustration: COMTESSE DE FLANDRE.]

Her death occurred, very suddenly, the following autumn, just before our
departure for Japan. For court mourning I was obliged to buy a crêpe
bonnet, such as was worn for a long period by all the diplomats' wives
and many of the Belgian ladies.

But for the Duke of Fife they wore black for only four days. Mourning
for the Duke of Luxembourg was for twenty-one days, the first ten days
in black, after that in black and white. Teas and dinners, however, went
on just the same.

The funeral of the Countess was most imposing. I watched the procession
from a house on the route, but L. went to St. Gudule with the rest of
the Diplomatic Corps. Lines of soldiers guarded the streets as the
procession, headed by the Garde Civique, passed along in the pouring
rain. Following the Garde were troops of cavalry on fine horses, a
military band, and a number of ecclesiastics and church dignitaries. The
catafalque was borne on a great black and gold car, drawn by eight black
horses decorated with plumes, and laden with magnificent wreaths of
flowers. The King walked solemnly behind the funeral car, the Crown
Prince of Germany on his right, and the Crown Prince of Roumania on his
left, with several other lesser royalties following in their train.
After these came the special Ambassadors, the Cabinet, Senators and
others, in great carriages draped in black, with coachmen and standing
footmen in mourning liveries. (The only touch of colour was the
brilliant red robes of the Justices as they entered the church.) When
the service was over, the whole funeral train was conveyed in carriages
to the chapel at Laeken, near the Summer Palace.

The Comtesse de Flandre had been very popular and was greatly missed.
She was a kindly and much beloved old lady, and was certainly very
active in society, going about everywhere, giving dinners and opening
bazars. She showed especial favour to artists and musicians, and was
herself a talented musician and etcher of landscapes.

Another ceremony that we saw at St. Gudule's occurred after the death
of the little daughter of one of the Ministers of State, when L. and I
attended the Angels' Mass, which was celebrated in this old church.
There was a great crowd in black, and the music in the immense vault
with its solemn, stained-glass windows was most impressive. As the mass
proceeded, all the men in the audience crowded up towards the altar, and
lighted candles were handed them in turn as they formed in procession
and passed before the catafalque, the Catholics kissing the patten, and
others bowing to it, and then passing in review before the bereaved
family, who sat to one side. This, I believe, was for the purpose of
showing the mourners who had attended the ceremony, but, as some one
complained, women were not allowed any credit for being present. The
custom of holding the candles near the face, no doubt, was a relic of
the days when the churches were so dark that it was only in this manner
that people could be recognized. I believe it was also a common practice
of old to drop an oblation in the plate as one passed.

To return to more cheerful subjects, we had the honour of dining with
the Duchesse d'Ursel one evening. The d'Ursels, the de Lignes, and the
de Mérodes (Comtesse de Mérode, we hear, was arrested during the war,
as she was the bearer of important papers) are some of the great names
in Belgium, counting, as they do, one thousand years of "_lignage_."
Several members of the d'Ursel family lived in the same house. The
Duchess Dowager received at the end of one wing, and the younger Duchess
in her salon at the end of another, while the Comtesse Wolfgang d'Ursel
was at home in still a third. So one made a series of visits without
going out of the main door--quite a hospitable way of entertaining one's
friends. The old Palais d'Ursel remained alone in that part of the city
which was being rebuilt with great government structures--for King
Leopold promised the old Duke that his historic residence should be
allowed to stand, even if the other buildings around it had to be torn
down. It is long and low-lying, and mediæval in appearance. The dimly
lighted rooms, with their old tapestries and quaint pieces of antique
furniture, were of another age, dignified and quiet. Here we met such
old-world looking people--the men with Roman noses and waxed mustachios
and elegant manners. The Duchess' second son was Comte Wolfgang d'Ursel,
a name that suggests the Middle Ages and a great heroic figure, although
in reality he was a small man. I regret to add that he has been
killed in the war.

[Illustration: PALAIS D'URSEL.]

Our dinner with Prince Charles de Ligne was also enjoyable. No family of
the Belgian nobility has a prouder record than this. To name only a part
of their titles, they were barons before the year 1100; they have been
marshals and grand seneschals of Hainault since 1350; counts of the
Empire and hereditary constables of Flanders since the sixteenth
century; and were made princes of the Spanish Netherlands in the
seventeenth; while "the glorious order of the Golden Fleece," says
Poplimont, in his "Heraldry," "has been from its creation an appendage
absolute, so to speak, of the house of Ligne."

Although the palace was so stately, and the doorkeeper wore a decoration
on his livery, and the footmen were in maroon and shorts, with showy
little gold shoulder-knots, the dinner was simple and well done, and so
like one at home that it was really delightful. We passed up the fine
staircase, with the balcony opening above and the plants as in a winter
garden, and through salons in which chairs were arranged in the formal
way that they affect abroad. The Prince and the Princess received us
cordially, and, after dinner, we went into a small _fumoir_ in which
were hung tapestries that had been in the family for four centuries.

We were taken one day by the Princesse de Ligne to visit the palace of
the d'Arenbergs in Brussels, which was the finest in the city next to
the King's. The great staircase was the most beautiful that I have ever
seen--in its proportions and in the splendour of its marbles. The rooms
were palatial, and there were so many wonderful tapestries and famous
pictures! We saw the suite with a private entrance for royalties, where
the Kaiser's son Adelbert had been a guest a few days before.
Notwithstanding all this glory the bathrooms had tubs for which the
water had to be heated by gas in a stove. The old wing of the palace,
which had belonged to Count Egmont in the sixteenth century, was burned
some time ago, and many of his possessions were destroyed, notably the
desk at which he wrote. The Duchesse d'Arenberg is the daughter of the
Princesse de Ligne. The Duke is a German, and I have been told that
before the war he removed all their superb collection to Germany. It is
reported that extraordinary things went on beneath that roof previous to
the invasion.

Among the old nobility of Belgium is a member called Comte Vilain XIIII.
There is a curious tradition in regard to the origin of this title.
When Louis XIV was in Belgium, during his Flemish campaign, it was
discovered one evening that there were but thirteen to sit down at his
table. The King was too superstitious to allow this, so sent out an aide
to find some one to make the fourteenth. Of course only noblemen sat at
the King's table, but as the aide was unable to find any one of suitable
rank he brought in a wayfarer, or villain. The King at once ennobled
him, calling him Comte Vilain XIIII, and the title is still written in
this way.


Of the many "official" dinners that we attended one was with the
Minister of the Interior, M. Berryer, who is a brilliant man. We also
dined with Minister of State Beernaert, one of the wonderful old men of
Europe, eighty-three years old when we were there, but quite alert and
still an able statesman.

Another dinner was given for us by M. Carton de Wiart, the Minister of
Justice, and a writer of much ability. He was a member of the commission
that came over here from Belgium in the autumn of 1914. This dinner was
rather different from others that we had attended, for it was made up of
the deputies. It was quite interesting to meet this entirely different
class of men, whom I found to be very intelligent. Among the guests was
a nice old man, whom all the deputies of the Right called "Uncle." There
were also dinners, of course, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and
other officials, as well as the diplomats, all of which I remember with

The reception to the foreign ministers at a quarter-past ten New Year's
morning was postponed on account of the King's indisposition. So L. went
off to write in the King's and the Queen's books, which had to be
protected by the crimson-liveried servants against the throng of people
who were struggling to reach them.

Among other functions the balls at the "Concert Noble" were very
enjoyable; the music was good, and the vast assembly room was handsome
and not crowded. The lofty suite of salons made an effective setting for
the dancing. One night when we were there, the entrance was lined with
men in gold and black, and the King and Queen came in, followed by
gentlemen-in-waiting. They took their seats upon a raised daïs, after
walking through the rooms, and watched the dancing for a time. When
supper was ready everybody stood about, and the King and Queen talked
with different people.

The life of the American Minister in Brussels, even in time of peace,
was by no means all a round of social gaieties. While nothing of the
greatest or most pressing importance came up in our relations with
Belgium, yet there were questions of commerce and questions of policy to
be kept constantly in mind, and reports to be made from time to time to
the home Government, not to speak of countless interruptions from
Americans who, for one reason or another, were in need of the kind
offices of their representative. For instance, according to Belgian law,
vagabonds without money, but who might be absolutely innocent of crime,
could be sent to the workhouse for two years, and sometimes American
sailors landing at Antwerp would be left there without a cent. Our
kind-hearted Consul General used his influence to have them set free;
but then what was to be done with them?

Among our countrymen who came to the Legation, however, were many
welcome visitors and not a few whom we had met in far distant parts of
the world. There was Governor Pack, of the mountain province in the
Philippines. The last time L. had seen him, he was ruling supreme among
the head-hunting Igorrotes at Bontoc. With a small handful of brave and
resourceful men as lieutenants, he had in a few years brought those
extraordinary aborigines into such willing subjection that their
loyalty to the American was really devotion. He had been visiting the
families of that company of wonderful Belgian priests who were doing so
much good in his far-away mountain home--sons of rich parents, who had
taken up the work in a spirit of pure self-sacrifice.

It is a curious thing that the men of affairs in Belgium--often some of
the Ministers of State and the captains of industry--who were broad,
up-to-date men, forceful and interesting, one seldom met socially. Even
some of the King's _entourage_ could not join the Cercle du Parc, the
most exclusive club in Brussels.

I had a reception day every Tuesday, beginning in January, besides which
there were various times at which we received diplomats and titled
Belgians by themselves. One of the most interesting figures was the
Papal Nuncio, who came in his robes, with magenta cape and cap and
gloves, wearing his ring outside. The concierge and a chauffeur waved
his motor under the porte-cochère; two servants opened the doors _à
double battant_; and L. met him and escorted him upstairs, where we had
tea and cakes.

On Washington's birthday we had another reception for Americans. The
chancery was closed, the Stars and Stripes waved in all their glory
over the door, and flowers were arranged around the bust of Washington
in its niche high between the windows on the main landing of the
staircase. We received about one hundred and forty guests--men, women,
and children of all ages--in the room at the head of the stairs, where
some of the tapestries were hung. It was a most democratic
assembly--young schoolgirls, teachers, most of the regular "colony,"
American women who had married Belgians--and they seemed to enjoy the
dancing, to American airs. On the table in the dining-room was a
splendid cake of many stories, all flag-bedecked--every one of the flags
was proudly carried off before the afternoon was over.

For a change from the official routine and the formal entertainments, we
often started out on a rainy evening and walked the glistening
boulevards down into the town, so gay with its brilliantly lighted shops
and restaurants. Having been duly advised by our Secretary of Legation
of a respectable place to which diplomats "might" go, we sought it out
and had happy little dinners together, forgetting our troubles for the

Perhaps the most delightful day I spent in Brussels was at Laeken. The
Summer Palace stood on a hill overlooking the city, and was built of
gray stone in Renaissance style. The greenhouses, which were erected by
old King Leopold, were supposed to be the largest in the world. One
could walk for miles through covered glass walks, with climbing
geraniums and fuchsias hanging from the roof and heliotrope filling the
air with its perfume.

The place was at its best for the royal garden party in May. As the
invitations said two o'clock, we had luncheon early and set out at half
after one. Soon we were careering up the fine avenue du Parc Royal,
zigzagging from one side to the other as different officials gave us
conflicting directions. Farther on, the road skirted the splendid park
of Laeken, and we could look out over wide sweeps of lawn with great
masses of trees and artificial waters winding in and out. Fine vistas
led the eye up to the palace, which stood in a more formal setting of
garden and terraces.

At the great gate in front of the palace, grenadiers in bearskin shakos
stood guard, with uniformed officials and red-coated servants in gold
lace and plumed hats. The palace was still unfinished, but looked very
impressive. About it were great clumps of rhododendrons and magnificent

The carriages stopped at the orangery, which had a long façade of stone
columns and glass. Alighting, we passed into a perfect wonderland. To
each side of us stretched a wing of a palace of crystal, with three rows
of enormous orange trees arcading promenades.

Beyond this we passed into the great palm house, a vast dome with palms
so huge that they seemed to lose themselves in the height of the
rotunda. The people strolling beneath them looked quite like pygmies in

All the parterre was laid out with bright-coloured flowers. In a paved
space in the center was held the royal circle. When the King and Queen
arrived, the people arranged themselves along the sides--the Diplomatic
Corps, the ministry, and prominent Belgians--and a band played gaily
while Their Majesties came down the line. The scene was really

The circle lasted a long time, and we were beginning to weary of
standing, when the royal party finally set out to make a tour of the
greenhouses. The rest of us followed, glad of a chance to see the
wonders of which we had heard so much--and wonders they were indeed, for
who ever saw before a lovely chapel built entirely of glass?

First we passed through a wide, two-aisled gallery with a forest of
palms above and a rich display of pink and rose-coloured azaleas below.
Then down steps into long, narrow passageways that were a bower as far
as the eye could reach, gorgeous with climbing geraniums and lovely
cinerarias. These galleries led one hither and thither, now in one
direction, now in another, till both eye and mind were dazed with
pleasure. We passed through tunnels of blooming flowers, and there was
no end to the astonishing glory of colour and beauty.

Here and there were little grottoes with mirrors, and fountains
plashing; then more alleys, and another great house all aflame with
azaleas. Steps led to the door of a pavilion. Here it was that King
Leopold II had died.

Our progress was not rapid, as the King and Queen stopped frequently to
speak to different people. But we finally made the tour and returned to
the great rotunda, where I felt as if I were standing in an unreal
world, inside a giant soap-bubble of many colours.



The social life of Brussels we found very interesting. That of the Court
was simple but elegant, while that of the aristocracy was old-world and
conservative to a degree. Indeed, it was much like that of the Faubourg
in Paris. Outside of royalty and serene highnesses, every one "in
society" was either a count or a baron. It certainly seemed strange to
an American that not one was without a title.

Another custom which struck one as odd was that of using titles in
letters--they would often sign themselves "Countess So-and-So," or
"Princess X." If a woman belonged to a fine family she would put "_née_"
with her maiden name on her card.

An amusing travesty on titles occurred when our footman received letters
addressed to the "Chief Cleaner of the Silver." I saw two cards which
were even funnier than this, though. One bore the man's name and the
title, "The Secretary of the Secretary of the Minister of"--such a
department. The other was a card of a Doctor A----, who had inscribed
beneath his name, "Doctor for the Countess of B----'s stomach."

Hospitality generally took the form of afternoon teas. I have often been
to as many as three or four in a day. They were always very ceremonial
affairs, with all the servants turned out in style to receive me alone
or perhaps two or three other guests.

During Lent people often received in the evening. Tea and cake and
orangeade were served, while the guests sat and gossiped. At this
season, we discovered, all the dinners had to have either fish or
meat--not both--as it was a Roman Catholic country. Sundays, which are
not Lenten days, gave them an opportunity for varying the festivities.

Dinners were given occasionally, and were always very formal and very
long--really banquets--made up of a succession of rich dishes with a
small glass of red or white wine with every course. The placing of
guests at table was an extremely important matter, for every one must be
seated strictly according to rank. One does not wonder that there were
so few dinners, considering the difficulty of finding a group of
congenial people who could dine together without dissatisfaction. Each
was likely to think that he should have been given a higher place, and
to go home feeling insulted instead of happy.

The favourite subjects among the women were children and the rainy
weather; aside from gossip there was talk of little else. The men had no
objection to sitting in silence, and were inclined to consider women who
talked as chatterboxes. But for all that, they were very charming and
high-bred and delightful to meet.

I should judge the Belgian sense of humour was not like ours. Many of
them had a Latin wit, but as a race they were rather serious and
conventional. They seemed to consider it bad form to have what we call a
good time; all their entertainments were formal and dignified.

There was much in their character that was delightfully mediæval. People
in the highest position socially would say with perfect simplicity
things that sounded very strange to our ears. A man of high rank and
intelligence explained to me one day that the reason why the Belgians
slept with their windows closed was that the early morning air was bad
for the eyes! He was quite serious about it and seemed to think the
excuse sufficient.

I believe some of them still imagined that our country had not reached
even the first stages of civilization. A little gentlewoman whom I had
engaged through a friend to act as secretary courtesied very prettily on
being presented, but wasn't at all sure whether we were South Americans
or not, and inquired rather anxiously whether I had ever before been
away from my native land. She thought that I should always be
accompanied when out walking.

I once asked an American lady who had married a Belgian what her adopted
countrymen thought of Americans. She laughed and told me what happened
when her husband took her home to his château as a bride, many years
before. All the peasants and tradespeople of the village had turned out
to greet them, and while they were evidently pleased, something in her
appearance seemed to surprise them. Finally her husband asked some one
if there was anything the matter. Very politely the man explained that
since they had heard that their new countess came from America, they had
all expected her to be black. The Count paused a moment, glancing at his
wife, who was not only very beautiful but very blonde, and then answered
gravely, "Oh, but you must not forget--it is winter now. My wife, she
only turns black in summer!"

Before the war broke down the barriers between them, the Belgians and
Dutch were much inclined to make fun of each other. The former said
their neighbours were heavy, stupid and stiff. The Dutch retorted that
the Belgians were so weak they could simply eat them up if they wished.

Quite the most important social event of the Brussels year was the Fancy
Fair, which was given for the benefit of some charity. It came off in
February and lasted four days. I had been asked to help on the flower
table, where we sold not only flowers, real and artificial, but flower
stands, vases, and perfumes. The shelves and tables were covered with
mauve paper and velvet, and the effect was quite pretty. The fair was
much like ours at home, and most of the men were afraid to attend. Some
of the diplomats discreetly sent donations with their cards. The Queen
was expected, but was ill at the last moment and the Comtesse de Flandre
took her place, spending ten dollars at each table.

During the winter months Belgium sees little of the sun. All through
April, too, they tell you, as a matter of course, "It is to rain." The
weather is undoubtedly bad. In most countries the people stand up for
their climate to some extent, but there they have to acknowledge that it
is wretched. May can be delightful, as I discovered, with floods of
sunshine everywhere. But even then there were cold, dreary days, and
later in the month the chestnut trees turned brown and the flowers began
to fade, so the spring is short enough at best.

I found the streets of Brussels always amusing, whether the sun was in
or out. There were sturdy dogs pulling carts laden with shining brass
and copper milk-cans, the occasional trumpet-call and tramp of soldiers,
and the women selling baskets of flowers, as they do in Rome. The church
bells rang at all hours, for the clocks did not any two of them agree,
and were forever contradicting each other with their musical chimes.

As I have said before, Brussels was a model city, beautiful and well
kept. In the center of the town was the superb Grande Place, second to
none in Europe, with the Hôtel de Ville, which was second only to that
in Louvain, the galleried and much-gilded Maison du Roi, and the many
guild-houses of the archers and skippers and printers and merchants. I
am told that this historic square has been mined by the Germans, so
that all its treasures of mediæval architecture can be blown up at a
moment's notice.

[Illustration: _A Flemish Kermesse_]

The Grande Place was at its best when there was a _kermesse_. Then the
windows of the guild-halls and the long galleries of the Hôtel de
Ville--the glory of Brussels--were lined with people looking down into
the square. Flags streamed from the buildings, and there was good music,
and groups of happy burghers were drinking their beer at little tables.
After dark there was continuous illumination of the lovely spire of the
Hôtel de Ville, with varying coloured lights that showed its tracery and
design in beautiful, mysterious relief--an entrancing sight.

Not far from the corner of the Hôtel stood the famous little fountain
figure of the Mannikin, the "First Citizen of Brussels." He was dressed
for the _kermesse_ in his best Sun-day-go-to-meeting suit, as was proper
for the occasion--a plum-coloured velvet with ruffles and embroidery, a
three-cornered hat with feathers and cockade, buckled shoes, and white
stockings and gloves.

The Grande Place was the civic center of Brussels. The Government
buildings were grouped about a park half a mile away, with the royal
palace at one end and the Palais de la Nation, the House of Parliament,
at the other. Close by, on either side, were grouped the various
departments and the fine houses provided for the Ministers by the

The Palais de la Nation was only moderately impressive. The senate
chamber was decorated with frescos, while the "deputies" was bare and
plain. Like our two houses in Washington, the upper was rather
dignified, while the lower was in apparent disorder all the time. While
Parliament was in session _huissiers_ with their chains of office about
their necks were on guard throughout the building.

One of the points in Brussels most familiar to me was the Gare du Nord,
near the long public greenhouse and park, where the narrow shopping
street began, in the lower part of the town. This led to the Bourse, the
Place de la Monnaie, and the Grand Théâtre. Then there was the upper
Boulevard with its tram that climbed the hill from the Gare du Nord, and
a foot and bridle path which led through the Quartier Leopold--and on
for miles to the Gare du Midi, changing its name with every block.

There were three good motor roads leading out of town: one from this
boulevard to the avenue Louise continued on through the Bois; another
extended from the Quartier Leopold to the Musée Congo, while a third led
in the opposite direction, through the lower town and on to Laeken,
where the Summer Palace of the King was located.

A favourite stroll of mine from the Legation was through the park near
by, between the palace and the government houses, past the palace of the
Comtesse de Flandre and the Museum, to the American Club for a cup of
afternoon tea. I sometimes stopped and took a look at the interesting
paintings in the Museum--a jumble of religious pictures, butchers'
shops, and fat women. The street known as the Montagne de la Cour, in
this part of the town, was widened a few years ago by the old King, and
no doubt is more healthy, but its picturesqueness was much marred by the
tearing down of some quaint old houses which had stood there for

Before the war Brussels was one of the first musical cities of Europe.
This was not a new honour for it, however, for as far back as the
fifteenth century the Low Countries led the world in the art of music.
They furnished choirmasters for the churches of the continent, and
singers for the royal courts. Besides all this, they founded schools of
music and supplied the instruction as well. One of their most famous
composers, Grétry, who lived in the eighteenth century, wrote many
operas which were very popular in Paris. Much of his life was spent in
the French capital, but when he died his heart was taken to his native
Liège for burial. One of his songs is supposed to have inspired the
Marseillaise by its vigorous expression of loyalty to the French king.

Few people, I believe, know that Beethoven's father was a Belgian. Since
the tragedy of Belgium, the great composer has been taken out of the
German Hall of Fame. His ancestral town was Louvain.

    "Beethoven? From Louvain his fathers spring,
    Hence came the exile's dolor in his mien.
    Rebukes prophetic in his numbers ring;
    And when wild clangors smite his sealed ears,
    And loud alarums rung by hands unseen,
    It is the tocsin of his town he hears."

Because of their long inheritance of good musical taste, the public of
modern Brussels had the reputation of being the most difficult to please
of any. Even London and Paris audiences seemed less critical, and a
triumph in Brussels was a triumph indeed. The audience was usually made
up of thoroughly educated musicians who went to concerts seriously.
Both Calvé and Melba made their débuts there.

[Illustration: EUGENE YSAYE.]

But much of Brussels' musical renown was due to the presence there of
the two great masters of the violin--Thompson and Ysaye. The former is
less known in this country than Ysaye, who has had great success here
and is a popular favourite in England as well. But he himself considers
Thompson his superior, and certainly the latter is acknowledged to be
the greatest living master of technique.

Both men came from Liège, in the Walloon country, and both have been
head of the violin department in the Conservatoire in Brussels. When
Ysaye resigned a few years ago, Thompson took his place. (The
Conservatoire, by the way, was subsidized by the Government and was
entirely for the service of the people. The aristocracy did not send
their children there, employing members of the faculty to come to their
homes instead.) Unlike so many great men, Ysaye was honoured in his own
country, and appreciated and adored by his own people. He was especially
adored by his pupils, who considered him a sort of god.

When Thompson played in Boston he was not appreciated. He admits that he
has stage fright, and when appearing before a large audience becomes
frozen and fails to play at his best. He is a master of counterpoint,
and an authority on ancient music. Although a fine teacher, he sometimes
becomes sarcastic, and his pupils do not worship him as Ysaye's do. His
son served in the Belgian army and at last accounts was convalescing
from a wound, in an English hospital.

We attended a wonderful performance of "Götterdämmerung," which began at
half-past five and lasted all the evening. An American woman, Madame
Walker, sang remarkably well. The opera was very good, and Friday night
was the fashionable time to attend, when it was generally crowded.

One morning we went to the "Concours de Violons" at the Conservatoire.
The playing was of a high order and the enthusiasm of the crowded
audience tremendous. The judges sat in one of the stage boxes and the
competitions began at nine, all the pupils playing the same piece in
succession. Each competitor came out and stood on the stage alone, save
for her accompanist and her teacher, and played for some fifteen
minutes, facing the jury and the critical crowd.

Quite the nicest looking of all the contestants was a little American
girl of sixteen, Miss Hildegarde Nash, who seemed very self-possessed.
Her method was so perfect that, while she had to compete with men, as
well as with other clever little half-grown girls like herself, she
gained a "_premier prix avec grand distinction_." We felt quite proud of

Besides the music, there were _conférences_--talks by various people on
various subjects. One went to them either by invitation, or by
purchasing tickets; some were given for charity, others for mutual

Before the war broke out there were about two hundred of our compatriots
in the American colony in Brussels. Most of the older ones had brought
their children there because the schools were good and quite
inexpensive, and both rents and servants' wages were low. Many of the
younger people were there for the purpose of studying music.

The life of an American girl studying in any Continental city is always
beset with difficulties. This was no less true in Brussels, the "Little
Paris" of the Low Countries, than elsewhere. So that winter I started an
American Students' Club. It occupied so much of my time that it is worth
a passing mention here. We had some difficulty in finding suitable
rooms; my husband was much amused because I found some excellent ones
over what he insisted was a bar, though it was really a restaurant.
However, we didn't take them, but a lower suite in a respectable
_pension_ with a small writing room, reading room, tea and music rooms,
bath, bedroom and kitchen.

The club had its opening the first of February, and during Lent it was
crowded. Different ladies poured tea, and the students sang or recited.
The little Boston girl who had won the prize at the Conservatoire played
for us delightfully, as did also Miss Zoellner and others. Including the
students and their friends we sometimes had a hundred present. In the
spring it was suggested that we should give the most prominent member of
the club an introduction, so it was voted that Miss Donnan should have
the first concert given for her. She had quite a lovely high voice, and
the affair was very successful.

Later on the character of the club was somewhat altered. The membership
grew and the treasury swelled, but it became more of an American woman's
club, with dances and bridge whist. The last I heard it was being
restored more to its original character. I hope it has been of service
to Americans during the war.

Even before this war there was much kindly feeling in Belgium toward
Americans, although during our war with Spain they sympathized with the
Spaniards. (During the Boer War they were anti-English.) There was an
eclipse of the sun in April, and at the moment of greatest darkness
Baron von der Elst of the Foreign Office came to express to L. the
sympathy of the Government in the face of the catastrophe to the
_Titanic_--a catastrophe that we, like the rest of the world, had been
slow to believe possible. The Baron said that the King was much
concerned, and that they intended to express their sympathy in
Parliament that afternoon. Indeed, both the Senate and the Chamber of
Deputies passed resolutions of condolence, and later the King sent his
Grand Marshal, Comte de Mérode, to further express his sympathy and

When spring came, and sunnier weather, I had many delightful rides on
horseback. A favourite one, which I took several times with the Duc and
Duchesse d'Ursel, was out in the Forêt de Soignes, which was quite
wonderful with its damp young green. It covered some ten thousand acres,
and had alleys of great trees with beautiful vistas.

About twelve hundred years ago, they tell you, a gay and worldly young
prince lived in a castle near the edge of this forest, where he was
fond of hunting. He was so devoted to the sport, in fact, that he quite
neglected the fast days, and hunted on Fridays as freely as on Mondays.
This impiety could not be permitted, of course. One day a white stag
bearing between its antlers a cross, appeared to the prince in a forest
glade. The vision so impressed the young man that he forsook his sport
and turned religious. In time he became Bishop of Liège, converted
Brabant from paganism to Christianity, and was canonized by the Church
he had served so faithfully. The people still believe that the blessing
of St. Hubert rests upon the Forêt de Soignes.

A favourite sport with all classes, but also a social function, was
horse-racing. There was a lovely miniature racecourse at Boitsfort, just
beyond the Parc de la Cambre. We walked down among the flower beds and
under the shading trees to where the horses were being paraded and the
betting was going on. The dresses of the women, of whom all sorts and
conditions were crowded together, were quite remarkable.

The races frequently took place on Sunday afternoon. There was one at
Groenendal, out on the avenue Louise, through the Parc de la
Cambre--the latter very beautiful with its wide sweeps and vistas, all
crowded with the holiday-making people. We ran by the artificial waters
dotted with little boats, out through the alley of the Forêt de Soignes,
where the deep, pleasant woods were all sun and shadow, and filled with
promenaders. From there we went on past Groenendal Château, along a road
that reminded one of Rock Creek Park in Washington, turning at length
into the Grande Route, which leads to Waterloo. This was a great avenue
of trees, lined with the burnish of copper beeches. At last we reached
the hippodrome, the racecourse of Groenendal, and were just in time to
see the great steeple-chase of the year. The course was unexpectedly
pretty, small and with cozy stands. The international steeplechase,
ridden by French and Belgian officers in uniform, was very exciting and
well run, and the whole scene beautiful against the green background of
the forest.

Afterward we walked in the Bois de la Cambre, across the wide lawns with
the people sitting about in groups, and into the shade of the great
trees, dipping down into the valleys where hundreds of children were
playing and tumbling about, and up again across the plateau. Here in the
groves of beech trees were restaurants with many little tables and
crowds of people listening to the music. Later we motored back to the
avenue Louise, which was the bourgeois promenade of a Sunday afternoon,
and down its long length to the boulevards and home.

One week-day afternoon in early May we went to the horse show, which was
the last important spring event. It was held in the great glass building
back of the Palais du Cinquantenaire, the floor being laid out in a
lovely parterre with banks of flowers and palms and blossoming
chestnuts. In this setting the jumps and obstacles were arranged. There
was a water jump in the center, and a great, terrible, grassy mound on
to which the horses had to jump and from which they had to stride over a
fence back on to the flat again. It was heart-breaking to watch the
tumbles there--twenty-six took place; the horses seemed to fear it more
than the men, and showed their nervousness. When we went again we were
relieved to see that it had been removed.

As the show was a great social event, all the women were in their best,
and the men wore black coats and silk hats. The officers of the Guides
Regiment were very showy in their bright uniforms, and there were many
French officers there, too, in the pale blue and red of the Chasseurs.
The royal loge had a canopy and a garden of azaleas. It all made a very
lovely scene.

The King and Queen came in full state to the Cinquantenaire for the
exhibition of the cadets of the school of riding at Ypres. There was a
tremendous crowd in the huge building, and the horsemanship was good,
though no better than one could see at Fort Myer at home. There were
various feats of jumping, of fencing on horseback, and some musical
rides. One officer jumped his horse over three other horses, while
others took a "burning" hedge.

The entry of the royal cortége was quite fine, for the gate at the end
was opened and a squadron of the Guides came with fanfare of trumpets
and took up their position opposite the royal loge. Then followed the
five carriages, with red-coated outriders on prancing horses leading the
way, each one attended by four red-coated postilions wearing gold
tassels on their caps. There was much waving of handkerchiefs, and some
cheering, when they came in, but when they left there was more of a
demonstration, for the ladies in the audience had been provided with
flowers, and as the royal carriage drove around the arena Their
Majesties received a shower of blossoms.

This horse show turned out tragically, however. The great event of
another day was the international military race, run by many French and
Belgian officers. They were started somewhere out in the country, and
after a ten-mile run entered the arena, heralded by the blare of
trumpets, followed each other over a series of jumps and passed out of a
second gate for another ten miles across country, returning finally for
more jumps. At some bars just opposite our loge young Lieutenant
Terlinden, a son-in-law of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, fell, with
his horse on top of him, and never regained consciousness. His wife was
there, and his mother, and the world of Brussels, looking on. He was a
splendid rider, but had a poor horse.

We often ran out to Waterloo in the open motor, shooting down the avenue
Louise, through the Bois de la Cambre and the Forêt de Soignes, and
finally out on the wide paved highway to St. Jean and Waterloo. From
there it was a short ride through the straggling village to the rolling
country which made the battlefield, its center marked by the conical
hill surmounted by its lion. It is reported that the Germans have melted
this lion for ammunition. Going by this roundabout way, and taking our
time, the run was made in about an hour, but it was a day's journey
before motors came into use.

[Illustration: HOUGOMONT.]

We passed the rather poor monuments along the roadside, and La Haye
Sainte, with its broken farmyard walls and buildings, its muddy, dirty
stable with its dung heaps, and on to the low, insignificant farmhouse
of La Belle Alliance. On the way back we used to visit the battered
walls and farm buildings of Hougomont, with its yard full of scratching
chickens and scattering pigeons, and its bit of a chapel. Everywhere
were mud and litter, a few broken bricks showing where the well had
been. The only dignified thing about Hougomont was a bronze tablet
placed on its ruined wall by the English Guards.

I was very much struck by the small area of the battlefield--all the
positions were so near, and in plain sight of each other--quite
different from the long battle line of to-day. It is hard to realize
that a struggle of such tremendous importance was fought in such a
limited space.

It seemed a pity that this most famous of the scenes of great events
should not have been turned into a government park and preserved. When
we were there the land was being sold off into lots, and every year the
aspect of the battlefield was changing. But for all that we went again
and again, for the fields were sweet with spring and flowers in the warm
sunshine, and it was so quiet and peaceful. That is how we shall
remember it, as we saw it a century after the battle.



Many centuries ago, there was fierce fighting in the glorious Meuse
valley, where history seems to have a fancy for repeating itself. Then,
as today, Dinant was a center of events, and it is good to know that the
Belgians are strong and full of courage, as in the days when Cæsar
called them "the bravest of all the Gauls."

When the victorious Roman legions reached this outpost of Gaul, they
found themselves opposed by men of two different races--the fishermen of
the coast and the hunters of the hills and valleys further inland. In
the first shock of battle, it was only the personal bravery of Cæsar
that saved the legionaries from defeat, and eight years of campaigning
were required before the Roman general could report the province
subdued. The warlike tribes of the south were well-nigh destroyed.
Those, on the other hand, who lived on the sand dunes or in hovels
raised on piles above the tides, were more fortunate. Cæsar himself with
five legions finally reduced these men of the swamps to merely nominal

Transalpine Gaul was, by its conqueror, formed into a single province,
of which the land of the Belgae was the northern part, but under
Augustus it was divided into three provinces, the most distant one named
Belgica. The people of southern Belgica, being nearer to the Roman
civilization of Gaul, lost their primitive customs, their energy and
courage. The people of the north, less under the influence of the
conquerors, kept their love of independence, their frugal, industrious
habits, added trade with England to their fisheries as a means of
livelihood, and developed a strong stock, to which the future growth of
the country was due.

Three hundred years after Cæsar's conquest, the Salian Franks, a
confederacy of German tribes, invaded the country and settled between
the Rhine and the Waal. They were resisted by most of the Gauls but
welcomed by the Menapians of the Belgic coast.

There was, however, no real bond of union between the peaceful,
hard-working people of the lowlands and the warlike Franks. The shore
dwellers north of the Rhine formed with the tribes on the coasts of the
German Ocean the Saxon League, which after a time renewed the warfare
between Frank and Saxon, a warfare destined to endure till the twentieth
century and to be waged then as fiercely as in the fourth. Driven by the
Saxons from the coast districts, the Franks gradually made themselves
masters of southern Belgica and northern Gaul, and the Romanized people
of that section were submerged. Finally, toward the end of the fifth
century, Clovis, King of the Franks, succeeded in extending his rule
over the greater part of Gaul.

At this early date the limits were already sharply marked out of the two
great divisions of Belgium that have persisted until today--Flanders and
the Walloon country. Flanders received continual additions from the
German tribes who, worsted in the struggle with Rome, fled across the
Rhine, and became the land of the Flemings (the "e" at first
pronounced long), or fugitives. Retaining their Teutonic traits, these
kept steadily at their difficult task of winning comfort and
civilization from the hard conditions in which they were placed. Even
today they cling tenaciously to their Flemish tongue, which is a variety
of Low German, differing but little from Dutch.

The Franks of southern Belgica, on the other hand, like their
neighbours in Gaul, became to all intents and purposes, transformed into
French, and adopted for their language not a corrupt French, as we
understand that term, but a dialect of the _langue d'oïl_, the old
Romance tongue which was the speech of Gaul in that age.

The successors of Clovis had many a struggle with the people of the Low
Countries, but gradually the Frankish, or Merovingian, kings yielded to
the Roman luxury that surrounded them and became a race of
"do-nothings." Then arose those mayors of the palace, of whom Pepin of
Heristall, the Belgian, was the father of Charles Martel, the "Hammer"
whose vigorous blows crushed the Saracens and drove them from French

The year 800 found Charlemagne, mightiest of the Franks, in possession
of the Western Empire. The steady progress of the Netherlands was seen
in the rise of the towns of Bruges, Ghent, Courtrai and Antwerp, not
alone as trading centers but as seats of manufacture. The system of
dikes for the protection of the lowlands from the sea had at that time
been established by the united efforts of all the people of the region,
who had thereby learned in some measure the value of coöperation.

Christianity, introduced in the reign of Clovis, had gained much power.
It is impossible to overestimate the work of monks and nuns, whose
religious houses were at once schools, hospitals, book marts and
universities. Tournai and Liège were the seats of bishops, who were even
more powerful than the counts who played such a great part in the
history of the period.

The count was at first only an officer of the king, not an hereditary
noble, and received as his salary the revenue of the lands which he held
during his term of office. The tenants on these estates were completely
in his power. If he could muster a sufficient force of armed men he
might even defy the king, and thus retain his office for a longer time.

About the middle of the ninth century, Baldwin, a Fleming of great
power, who had defended the coast against the Normans, carried off
Judith, daughter of the French king, Charles the Bald. Much against his
will, Charles was obliged to give his consent to the marriage, and
settled upon Baldwin all the land between the Scheldt and the Somme.
Baldwin, named _Bras-de-fer_ (of the Iron Arm), was thus the first Count
of Flanders. Some authorities consider this the oldest hereditary title
of nobility in Europe. It is borne today by the second son of the King.

Other powerful vassals of this period were the counts of Louvain and
Namur. Still mightier was the Bishop of Liège, who felt himself so
strong that he even made an attempt--unsuccessful, however--to seize the
domain of the Count of Louvain.

Under Baldwin II, son of _Bras-de-fer_, who married the daughter of
Alfred the Great of England, the cities of Bruges, Ghent, Courtrai and
Ypres were fortified, and thus insured the opportunity of becoming the
great mediæval centers of freedom and progress.

After cloth weaving was begun, the first markets were opened at Ghent,
Courtrai and Bruges. The word _kermesse_, the Belgian name for fair or
fête, is linked in an interesting way with these markets of the Middle
Ages. They were called _kerk_ (church) _messe_ (market), because held
around the church or cathedral, and only the inconvenient letter _k_
needed to be dropped out to give the word _kermesse_.

At first sight, the history of the Netherlands from about the tenth
century down to the nineteenth appears a confused and confusing story of
wars and uprisings, of conspiracies and persecutions--count against
bishop, city against city, nobles and even, in one instance, a king,
against the Emperor. But if we look more closely, we discern, three
great forces at work through all the turmoil. These were feudalism, the
Crusades, and the rise of the towns, or _communes_. A fourth influence,
the power of the Church, was closely associated with these, sometimes as
a direct impelling force, sometimes as a guiding or restraining hand,
and again battling for its own temporal power with little more regard
for the well-being of the masses than was manifested by the lay barons


After the break-up of the Roman Empire, when there were no strong
central governments in Europe, when practically the only law was the
will of the strongest, it was inevitable that a vast number of petty
chieftains should gather about them as many followers as possible, both
in order to protect themselves and to plunder others. The ablest of
these, by waging a continual warfare, either killed off many of their
rivals and took possession of their lands, or reduced them to submission
and made them tenants of their own. These tenants held their land only
on condition of furnishing a certain number of men for their lord's wars
and paying certain taxes, later called "aids," for his support. When
this state of society became finally organized as the feudal system,
the king or emperor was the overlord, the counts swore allegiance to
him, the petty nobles and knights were tenants in their turn. By the
twelfth century, the counts and bishops were little kings in their own
domains. They had gradually acquired all the rights of the crown. They
coined money, established markets, acquired the rights of fishing,
hunting, brewing and milling, and collected the tolls. They were vassals
of the king in little more than name.

Below this landed aristocracy were the two classes of villains and
serfs, who led a miserable existence, possessing scarcely one of what we
consider the inalienable rights of man. Both villains and serfs were
slaves, bound to the soil, but the servitude of the latter was hopeless
and irremediable. Serfs must always be serfs. But the villains had the
privilege of earning their freedom.

When Peter the Hermit, a Walloon of the province of Liège, made his
impassioned appeals to Christendom to rescue the Holy Sepulcher from the
Saracen, it was Godfrey of Bouillon, another Walloon, who laid aside his
titles and sold his possessions that he might equip an army for the
conquest of the Holy Land. Godfrey was made "Advocate" of Jerusalem,
and was the first Western ruler of the sacred city. His brother Baldwin
became King of Edessa, in Mesopotamia, and his descendants were kings of
Jerusalem. Next to Godfrey, both as knight and leader, stood Count
Robert of Flanders.

It is told of Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, that he challenged
and defeated a mighty Saracen in single combat. The device on his
shield, which Philip bore away as a trophy, was a black lion on a field
of gold. This became the emblem of Flanders.

But Philip of Alsace was noted not alone for his prowess in battle; he
was an enlightened ruler for his age. He resigned the privileges of
"mainmorte" and "half-have." By "mainmorte," if a man died without
leaving direct heirs, his property went to the count. By "half-have,"
half of all the property left by any of his vassals went to the count.

In the year 1200, Baldwin, Count of Hainault and Flanders, led the fifth
crusade. Turning aside from the road to Jerusalem, he captured
Constantinople, and was crowned Emperor in St. Sophia. During the fifty
years that Baldwin and his descendants reigned in Constantinople, ships
from Flanders brought the luxuries of the Orient to Western Europe. Many
cargoes of silks and spices, of linen, damask and carpets, and other
Eastern products, were landed on the wharves of Ghent and Bruges, which
became the greatest centers of European commerce.

The influence of the Crusades upon social progress in Belgium was not
less marked than upon commerce. Shrewd townsmen who furnished their lord
with means to equip his followers exacted in return a pledge of
additional freedom. While the powerful nobles were in the Holy Land,
moreover, their tenants were relieved from their demands, and made
progress in all the arts of life.

When, after the death of Charlemagne, the river Scheldt was made the
boundary of France, to the west of that river lay West Francia, which
became France; to the east stretched Lotharingia, shortened to Lorraine,
the land of Lothaire, a narrow strip separating France and Germany. As
the various counts who possessed the Netherlands grew stronger the Duchy
of Lorraine grew weaker. Flanders especially, under the rule of counts
descended from Baldwin the Iron-Armed, made great progress--lowlands
were protected by dikes, forests were cleared away, and towns were
built. It was easily the most powerful part of Belgium. The Normans,
who for a century had been the terror of the Netherlands, now visited
Flemish towns to dispose of the booty they had won upon the sea, and
Bruges became the chief seat of this trade.

The townspeople of this period fared rather better than those in the
rural districts. Many of the towns had originated as a cluster of
peasants' huts, grouped around a monastery for protection. The
inhabitants were tenants of the abbot, who in time became one of the
powerful lords of the land. But the necessary organization of town life
gave the citizens the habit, to some extent, of working together.
Consequently, when a body of townsmen presented their plea for more
privileges, they were able to obtain better terms than could be gained
by single peasants pleading separately.

So great was the prosperity of the towns that, by the year 1066,
Flanders was able to assist William the Conqueror, who had married
Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, and Flemish knights
fought side by side with the Normans at Hastings. On the famous Bayeux
tapestry--which, however, is not real tapestry--wrought by Matilda, is
pictured the story of the Conquest of England.

Woolen cloths, the work of Flemish weavers, were already famous
throughout Europe, and were carried by the sailors of the Netherlands to
western and southern ports, with the jewelry, corn and salt, also
produced in Flanders.

But the sturdy people of these thriving towns were very jealous of the
fundamental rights which had come down to them from their German
ancestors. A painting by the Belgian artist, Hennebicq, depicts a
landmark in the history of the Netherlands--Baldwin VI, Count of
Flanders, granting a charter of rights to the citizens of Grammont,
whose representatives stand before him with drawn swords. Baldwin, a
kingly, dignified figure, stands on a low platform, his left hand
resting on his sheathed sword, while the townsmen before him swear
allegiance in return for the guarantee of their liberties. The story is
this: Count Baldwin bought the land belonging to one Baron Gerard, and
laid it out as a town, to which the name Grammont was given, meaning
Gerard's Mont, or hill. To the men of this town the Count gave, in 1068,
the first charter of liberties ever granted in Europe. Not until 1215
was England's Magna Charta wrung from King John.

By the charter were granted "(1) individual liberty; (2) the right to
hold, buy, sell, inherit, or devise property; (3) the privilege of
being judged by a tribunal of '_échevins_' (councillors) elected in
accordance with local statutes, of giving evidence and of being exempt
from the judicial ordeals that still obtained throughout Belgium." The
townsmen were also allowed the ownership of the neighbouring forest and
the use of the meadows to pasture their cattle. A single reading of this
summary, while it shows how very elementary were these provisions, yet
makes it plain that this was the germ of those later charters
guaranteeing the fundamental rights of man.

In the words of an eminent writer, the Belgian _commune_ of this period
was essentially "a confederacy of the inhabitants of a town, living
within the gates, who bound themselves by an oath to lend advice and a
helping hand and to be true to one another, mutually and individually."
The most striking prerogatives of this free association, says the same
author, were "(1) a municipal counting-house; (2) a common house, or
town hall; (3) a seal; (4) a belfry (_belfort_ in Flemish), a lofty
tower which contained the town bell, and which ordinarily served as a
prison or a repository for the archives; and (5) an arsenal."

Besides these communal rights, there were individual, property and
judicial rights guaranteed by the charters of the towns, as was
mentioned in connection with the charter of Grammont. Serfs became
freemen. The vexatious _droit de halle_ was done away with, by which all
kinds of goods must be sold in a given place and were subject to heavy
duties. From this came, it is said, those immense _halles_, most of
which were built before the towns received their charters. Henceforward,
justice was to be administered by councillors drawn from the wealthy
burghers and "juries" representing the trade guilds, and fines and
penalties were no longer arbitrary impositions but were fixed by law.

It was this same Baldwin VI who granted the charter of Grammont of whom
the old chroniclers wrote: "He might be seen riding across Flanders with
a falcon or hawk on his wrist; he ordered his bailiffs to carry a white
staff, long and straight, in sign of justice and clemency; no one was
allowed to go out armed; the labourer could sleep without fear with his
doors open, and he could leave his plow in the fields without
apprehension of being robbed."

When the King of France, the nominal overlord of the greater part of
Flanders, interfered in their government in 1071, the citizens quickly
sprang to arms. Their count had died, and the King of France chose to
the vacant place his widow, Richilde, also Countess of Hainault and
Namur in her own right. The nobility and the people of the higher
grounds submitted to this French intervention, but the townsmen of the
lowlands rallied to the banner of Robert the Frisian, brother of their
late count, and inflicting upon those professional soldiers a crushing
defeat, they wrested from the Countess Richilde not only Flanders but
also Namur and Hainault. This battle has come down to us as the victory
of Cassel, in which "street men" showed that they could defend their

The Flemish burghers of the twelfth century have the honour of
initiating a mighty forward step in civilization. In every country of
Europe, up to that time, when one man had wronged another the injured
party took justice into his own hands and punished his enemy himself.
The Church had, by the Truce of God, prohibited these blood feuds on
Friday, Saturday and Sunday of every week, and also on certain holy
days, but Philip of Alsace was the first ruler who did away with this
relic of barbarism and ordered that henceforth every man should bring
his quarrel for trial to the juries chosen by the townsmen. The glory
of demanding this reform belongs, however, to the Flemish burghers.

By 1260, the cities of Flanders had become so strong that they dared to
resist their count, and passed from his rule to that of the French king,
whose aid they had sought. Forty years later, they rose against this new
master. The townsmen of Bruges slaughtered the French garrison, and the
following year won the "battle of the spurs" at Courtrai, after which
seven hundred golden spurs were picked up on the field. Early that
morning, twenty thousand artisans of Bruges, in their working dress and
armed with boar-spears or plowshares set in long clubs, received on
their knees the blessing of the Church, raised a bit of Flemish soil to
their lips, kissed it, and vowed to die for their country, then gave
battle to sixty thousand of the steel-clad knights and men-at-arms of

A few years later, Brabant compelled its duke to grant it an assembly
which should transact all legal and judicial business, and should
consist of fourteen deputies, four chosen from the nobles and the other
ten from the people. The towns soon began to join their forces. Brabant
and Flanders formed a sort of union. But the burghers owed allegiance
not to a country but only to a small bit of a country, each to his own
town. Their confederacy was bound together by self-interest alone. Ghent
was jealous of Bruges, and failed to lend assistance when the Brugeois
rebelled against their count. For lack of this support the latter were

We speak of the cities of the Netherlands, but in the thirteenth century
they bore little resemblance to the cities of today. They were walled
towns, to be sure, but the walls were generally ramparts of earth with
an outside covering of thick planking. Within the walls the better class
of people lived in low wooden dwellings roofed with thatch, the churches
and the houses of the noblemen and the chief citizens were often built
of stone, but the poor, we may imagine, found shelter in rude mud huts.
The "streets" were usually mere crooked cart tracks, the dumping ground
for the rubbish of the community, in which boards and straw were thrown
down in an effort to bridge the numerous holes and pools of muddy water.
In Bruges and Ghent, as we learn from the ancient records, the principal
streets were paved with stone from the quarries near the Meuse. The
squares were, perhaps, not unlike the "common" of a New England village,
open grassy places in which were pumps--the common source of water
supply for the inhabitants--and drinking troughs for the domestic
animals that were allowed to roam through the streets. There was the
ever present danger of fire in cities so rudely built, and the fires
often became great conflagrations in which whole cities were consumed.
What with the bad roads, the blackness of the unlighted streets, and the
presence in these towns of many ignorant, riotous workmen and seamen
from foreign ports, we can understand that the citizen who sallied forth
without escort for an evening stroll, having only his lantern for
protection, might well be risking his life in a dangerous adventure.

Edward III of England now laid claim to the crown of France. Jacob van
Artevelde, the Brewer of Ghent, rallied the Flemings against the tyranny
of their count, who was supported by France, and threw off his yoke.
Among the petty jealousies and rivalries of that mediæval time, the
Great Brewer--so called only because he was registered in the brewers'
guild--stands out as the lone statesman of his land. (Van Artevelde at
first belonged to the aristocratic clothmakers' guild, and perhaps
changed to that of the brewers in order to ally himself more closely
with the democracy of the city.) His outlook was broader than the narrow
circle of municipal interests. He endeavoured to unite the cities into
one commonwealth, and formed an alliance with Edward. In his first
public utterance he said, "It is necessary for us to be friends with
England, for without her we cannot live." He added, "I do not mean that
we should go to war with France. Our course is to remain neutral."

The combined English and Flemish fleets gained the great naval victory
of Sluys over the French. The Great Brewer was made ruward, or
conservator of the peace, of Flanders, and used his almost kingly power
to strengthen the alliance with England and to favour the trade with
that country. But he was too great a man for his time, and the traders
of his native city were easily stirred by a trumped-up charge that he
was plotting to deliver Flanders to the Black Prince. He met his death
in 1345, at the hands of a mob, before his own doorway.

The confederacy of Flemish towns still held together for a while. They
assisted Edward in the siege and capture of Calais, and when he left
them to their own resources, they compelled their young Count, Louis de
Maele, to recognize their right to govern themselves, and still
maintained their independence of France. The wiles of Louis and the
fierce hatred between Gantois and Brugeois once more plunged the
countship into a state of anarchy, and Ghent, in danger of starvation,
turned in despair to Philip van Artevelde, son of the Great Brewer. He
led his fellow-townsmen against the Count's forces, and took the town of
Bruges. But Charles VI of France came with a large army to punish the
rebels of Ghent, and in the battle of Roosbeke, in 1382, completely
crushed them. Philip van Artevelde was among the slain. Two years later,
by the death of Louis de Maele, Flanders passed to Philip the Bold, Duke
of Burgundy, who had married Louis' daughter.

In the period between the two Arteveldes, the Joyous Entry became the
bulwark of the liberties of Brabant and afterward of the whole country.
Duke John III of Brabant summoned to Louvain, in 1354, representatives
of all the cities of Brabant and Limburg, and, announcing the marriage
of his daughter Johanna and Wenzel of Luxembourg, asked that they might
be confirmed as rulers of the duchy after his death. The delegates were
shrewd traders. They granted his request only in consideration of a
corresponding grant on his part of a liberal charter to Brabant. The
Joyous Entry became the title of the charter because it was not
proclaimed until Johanna and Wenzel made their entrance into Brussels
with great pomp and ceremony and took a solemn oath to carry out its
provisions. Down to Leopold II every succeeding ruler was obliged to
swear conformity to this famous document.



Of more interest than Philip the Bold or John the Fearless is the
beautiful Jacqueline of Bavaria, who was married to John's nephew, John
of Brabant. According to tradition, Jacqueline, heiress to the counties
of Holland and Hainault, was the most charming and gifted woman of her
day. John, Duke of Brabant, was in no respect her equal. He subjected
her to endless indignities and persecutions, and she at last fled from
Brussels to the court of Henry V of England, where she found protection.

The assassination of John the Fearless by followers of the dauphin of
France gave Burgundy and Flanders to his son Philip the Good. It was
Philip's ambition to consolidate all the Belgic provinces under the rule
of Burgundy, and thus to create a strong border state between France and
Germany, and he was not too scrupulous as to the means he used in
attaining his end. He wrested from the unfortunate Jacqueline first her
county of Hainault, then the provinces of Holland and Zealand in the
northern Netherlands. He also succeeded to the duchy of Brabant, and
gained by purchase the duchy of Luxembourg. Having induced the Emperor
to renounce his rights as overlord, Philip was now the head of an
independent state nearly as large as the modern countries of Holland and

It was Philip the Good who summoned the Grand Council to administer the
laws for all his Belgic territory. He often called together the
States-General, composed of the nobles. From this was developed in time
a parliament, in which sat representatives of the nobles, the gentry and
the communes, these last being called the Third Estate. But with this
progress toward consolidation, there was always one powerful
disintegrating force at work--the lack of any bond of union between the
towns. The jealousies of these little rival states kept them involved in
continual petty warfare, and even restrained them from offering
assistance to one another in the face of a common danger. A story drawn
from the old chroniclers will furnish a picture of the times.

In 1436, Philip led a large force of Flemings against the English
stronghold of Calais, which made a stubborn defense, and the besiegers
lost many men in the encounters outside the walls. As the Dutch fleet,
which had been relied upon to assist Philip by blockading the port, had
not appeared, the English were abundantly supplied with provisions,
while their enemies were almost at the end of their resources. The
garrison was in the habit of pasturing its cattle outside the ramparts
under a strong guard, in defiance of the Flemings. One morning a large
troop of Ghenters threw themselves upon a particularly fine herd, and
had already seized a part of it, when they found themselves caught in an
English ambuscade and driven with the animals into the city itself.
Their rivals, the Brugeois, encamped near by, took their time about
offering assistance and were too late to be of any service. The Duke's
following never interfered in these skirmishes, for which his permission
was never asked.

We catch a glimpse of the splendour of these Burgundian days in the
contemporary description of the Assembly of Arras, which met, the year
previous to Philip's attempt on Calais, to conclude a peace between
France and England. Here were ambassadors from England--among them
Henry, Cardinal of Winchester, and Richard, Earl of Warwick--envoys from
Charles VII of France, from the Emperor, from the kings of Spain,
Portugal, Sicily, Navarre, Denmark and Poland, besides the legate from
the Pope and the chief vassals and friends of Philip himself. Among the
brilliant retinues that accompanied and guarded these lords, that of the
Bishop of Liège was singled out for mention. This prelate, one of the
most powerful Belgic nobles, was surrounded by two hundred gentlemen
dressed in dazzling white costumes and mounted on white horses. The Duke
of Burgundy had a bodyguard composed of one hundred gentlemen and two
hundred archers, who never left his side.

This assembly was one of the largest in the fifteenth century. Fifty
thousand visitors were entertained and ten thousand horses were taken
care of for some weeks in the city. On the arrival of the French Embassy
Philip went to meet them, accompanied by the Duchess Isabella, who rode
in a magnificent litter, followed by several _grandes dames_ richly
dressed and mounted on beautiful gray palfreys. Before the sessions of
this august council began, a brilliant tournament was celebrated, in
which a Spaniard, Jean de Marle, was the victor. Then the lords repaired
to the monastery of Saint-Vaast for their sessions.

It may be added that this assembly was unable to make peace between
France and England, the English refusing to withdraw the claim of Henry
VI to the crown of France, and the French declining to accept any other

While the great cities of Flanders furnished by far the larger part of
the Duke's soldiery--it is said that Ghent, Bruges and Ypres could
together have armed 100,000 men, had it been necessary, without
arresting the course of their industries--they were often a most
uncertain support, as the history of the same siege illustrates. After
weary weeks of waiting, the Dutch fleet at last appeared, but was soon
dispersed by English ships. At this juncture the Ghenters declared they
were going home. In vain the Duke threatened and then entreated. Neither
tears nor menaces could move them. "The trumpets sounded, the troops,
with waving banners, marched away." Scarcely had the Ghenters
disappeared when the other Flemings followed their example, and the
helpless Duke was forced to bring up the rear with his nobles.

The Order of the Golden Fleece was established at Bruges by Philip the
Good at the time of his marriage to Princess Isabella of Portugal. The
Golden Fleece suggested the importance of Bruges as the center of the
trade in wool, while the story of Jason embodied the principles of
chivalry. The first motto of the order was changed later to that of the
house of Burgundy--"Je l'ai emprins," (I have undertaken it). The
organization was to consist of twenty-four knights besides the prince at
its head, who were privileged to be tried only by the members of the
order, thus being protected against despotic sovereigns as well as
against the laws of their country. Philip II of Spain was the first to
violate this privilege, in the execution of Counts Egmont and Hoorn. In
the eighteenth century, the order of the Golden Fleece was divided into
two branches, those of Austria and Spain.

Philip the Good, although a vassal of both France and the Empire, was
from the central position of his provinces and the number of rich
trading cities that they contained, more powerful than either the French
king or the Emperor. His son and successor, Charles the Rash, called
"the proudest, most daring and most unmanageable prince that ever made
the sword the type and the guarantee of greatness," seems to have
coveted a domain that should include the whole of ancient Lotharingia,
or the region watered by the Rhine, the Rhone and the Po, and even to
have dreamed of invading Italy. He spent his reign in a series of
unsuccessful campaigns, in the last of which he lost his life, and left
to his daughter Mary the heritage of a large state, composed of many
principalities--little states surrounded by enemies and with no bond of
union among themselves.

Louis XI of France at once seized the Duchy of Burgundy, which was ever
afterwards a part of the French dominion. The County of Burgundy with
the Netherlands remained under Mary's rule. The towns were not slow in
reasserting their rights and recovering the privileges that had been
wrested from them by the Burgundian princes. Mary married Maximilian of
Austria, son of the Emperor Frederick III, and at her death, a few years
later, left two children, Philip the Fair and Margaret of Austria.

Philip espoused Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile
and Aragon, and became the father of Charles V. Then began that
unfortunate connection with Spain which brought such misery to the Low
Countries. Charles, who not only ruled the Netherlands and Austria, but
was elected Emperor and King of Spain, governed his provinces of the Low
Countries with despotic sway. At one time the Ghenters incurred his
wrath by rising against the payment of a war tax and even carrying on
secret negotiations with Francis I, Charles's great rival. Francis
basely betrayed them to Charles, who took possession of the city with a
large army. Their leaders were beheaded, many citizens were exiled, and
the guild chiefs and members of the council were brought before the
Emperor with halters about their necks and forced to sue for pardon.
Henceforth no magistrate of Ghent was allowed to appear in public
without wearing the halter. This sign of submission became the badge of
the town, but in later years it was made of silk and worn as a
decoration. The city lost its privileges and its great bell, Roland. At
this time, too, the enormous citadel, called the Spaniards' Castle, was
erected at Ghent by Charles's orders. The garrison of this stronghold
was often, during the Spanish occupation of the country, of service in
suppressing insurrections in Flanders.

The Low Countries had never been more prosperous than at the accession
of Philip II. With the vast increase in commerce had come great wealth
and unexampled luxury. Antwerp, which held the place formerly belonging
to Bruges, was the richest city in Northern Europe. It was said as much
business was done on the exchange of Antwerp in one month as on that of
Venice in two years. Under the Burgundians music, architecture,
painting, lace-making and tapestry were all brought to great perfection,
and the University of Louvain was founded. One important advance in
government under Charles V must be noted. A code of laws was formed from
the customs that had grown up under the charters of the towns and the
proclamations of the rulers.

Philip II, who had been brought up in Spain, was a narrow-minded despot
and bigoted Catholic, entirely without natural ties binding him to the
Low Countries. He resided in the Netherlands only four years, at the end
of that time making Margaret of Parma, his half-sister, resident
governant. The Ancienne Cour in Brussels was the seat of her Court.
Philip, resenting the independence of the Belgians and determined to
reduce them to abject submission, cunningly contrived a scheme of
government for the provinces during his absence which left the balance
of power in the hands of courtiers devoted to his service. The
convocation of the States-General was forbidden, and a violent
persecution of heretics was commenced. An element of terror was added to
the situation by the Spanish garrisons, who ravaged the coast
provinces to obtain plunder in lieu of their long delayed pay.


In order to safeguard the rights of the people and make peace between
them and the King, a confederation was formed of the most powerful
nobles, led by the three greatest leaders in the Low Countries, William
the Silent, Prince of Orange, and Counts Egmont and Hoorn. The
confederates entered Brussels, where de Brederode, one of their leaders,
gave a great banquet in their honour, at which three hundred guests were
present. After long carousing, some one told how her advisers had handed
Margaret their petition with the remark, "You have nothing to fear from
such a band of beggars (_tas de Gueux_)." As the leaders were then
trying to decide upon a name for their confederacy, they at once adopted
that of _Gueux_, and the toast, "Long Live the Gueux," was drunk with
riotous hilarity. Henceforth those who upheld the rights of the people
and resisted the Inquisition were known as Gueux.

Madame Vandervelde made a telling use of this rallying cry in one of her
appeals in this country for the Belgian refugees. "Again," she said,
"the Belgian people are beggars, but they are glorious beggars!"

This was the beginning of the forty years' struggle for freedom that
ended in the division of the United Netherlands. Philip, bent upon
subjugating the people, replaced the Regent, Margaret of Parma, by the
infamous Duke of Alva. Backed by an army of Spanish veterans, the new
governor levied ruinous taxes, laid waste cities and provinces, and
carried out all the horrors of the Inquisition. Counts Egmont and Hoorn
were beheaded in front of the Maison du Roi in the Grande Place of
Brussels, and other leaders met the same fate. It was Alva's own boast
that during his rule in the Netherlands he sent eighteen thousand people
to death by execution.

Such barbarities as those committed at the capture of Haarlem roused the
people to desperation. The siege of this place lasted for seven months,
and when it was taken by the Spaniards the Governor and the other
magistrates were beheaded, and twelve hundred of the garrison were
either slaughtered or drowned in the lake. Before Alva's rule was ended,
the northern provinces, chiefly Protestant, had rebelled against the
Spanish crown. When no other resource remained, the intrepid burghers
cut the dikes, as they have done in Belgium today, and so forced the
enemy to retire.

Philip at last recalled the sanguinary Duke, and commissioned Requesens
to complete his task. But the conciliatory measures of the new governor
came too late, and the war went on.

After the death of Requesens and before the arrival of his successor,
Don John of Austria, the mutinous Spanish troops seized the citadels of
Ghent, Antwerp, and Maestricht, and gave the towns over to pillage and
destruction. In November, 1576, they were joined by other mutineers from
Alost, and for three days the "Spanish Fury" raged in Antwerp. Even in
the Low Countries such carnage and vandalism had never been known. When
it ended the city was in ruins, and seven thousand of its citizens had
been slain.

A few days later, the delegates from the different provinces, assembled
at Ghent, under the leadership of Orange, issued the famous declaration
known as "The Pacification of Ghent." This document proclaimed universal
amnesty, the union of the provinces to expel all foreigners, the
suspension of the edicts against heresy, liberty of worship, and the
annulment of all confiscations and judgments of the ten years of
warfare. The people seemed now to have taken a great stride toward

The death of Don John in the following year gave the command of the
Spanish forces to Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, one of the
greatest generals of the age.

The Walloons having practically gone over to the side of Spain, on
account of their devotion to the Catholic religion, William of Orange
saw that it was only the northern provinces upon which he could really
depend, and formed the "Union of Utrecht." By this act the states now
constituting the kingdom of Holland were bound together as a united and
independent whole, each state to enjoy complete freedom of worship. They
were soon joined by the towns of Antwerp, Ypres, Ghent and Bruges.

After William the Silent was assassinated, in July, 1584, at the
instigation of Philip, the United Provinces, though bereft of their
leader, still held out against the power of Spain, but the cities that
at first cast in their lot with them, were one by one reduced by siege,
the last to surrender being Antwerp. In all the conquered territory the
Protestant religion was absolutely proscribed, more than half the
population went into voluntary exile in England and Holland rather than
renounce their faith, and the country was left desolate.

A Belgian writer has described the condition of the land thus: "In vain
might vestiges of the ancient prosperity of Belgium be sought. The
Belgian ports were blockaded by the cruisers of Holland and Zealand.
Persecution and exile had emptied the workshops. England gathered in the
industry of our ruined cities. Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Middelburg
inherited the commerce of Antwerp and Bruges." At the end of Spanish
rule in Belgium, it is said that, "with a foreign garrison established
on its soil, and the principal part of the revenue assigned for its
maintenance, there would have been nothing surprising had the Belgian
race finally disappeared from the roll of nations."

At last Philip gave the command in the Low Countries to the Archduke
Albert, son of Emperor Maximilian II, who was to marry the Infanta
Isabella, and reign jointly with her over Burgundy and the Netherlands.
Under their rule the country, from this time called Belgium, began to
recover from the long wars. The sovereigns ruled with wise protection of
commerce and manufactures, and strove to build up the country. They were
patrons of art, and by their influence Rubens was induced to make his
home in Flanders.

Until the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, Spain continued to hold Belgium, on
whose devoted soil many a battle was fought. Sometimes Dutch and
Spaniards were the combatants, again Belgians fought off the French.
Through the whole second half of the seventeenth century Belgium was the
battlefield on which Europe strove against the ambition of Louis XIV,
and again it was laid waste.

In the course of these wars the French, in 1695, bombarded Brussels with
red-hot bullets. Sixteen churches and four thousand houses were burnt
down, and the buildings on the Grande Place suffered greatly.

Once more Belgium changed hands, and this time it passed under the sway
of Austria. Prince Eugene, the great soldier, was made Governor-General
of the Austrian Netherlands, but was too busy with his campaigns to
reside in the country. His deputy was an able man, under whom business
conditions improved and commerce increased, but he ruled with the iron
hand of an Alva. The citizens of Brussels demanded of him the Joyous
Entry, and when he refused to observe the charter, riots broke out in
Brussels, which were put down and punished with all the rigours of
Spanish rule.

Under the Archduchess Marie Elizabeth, the Emperor's sister, who was
Regent in Belgium for fifteen years, the commerce of the country
increased to such an extent that the jealousy of England and Holland was

The death of the Emperor was followed by the war of the Austrian
Succession, in which Belgium was again invaded and overrun by France,
and one city after another was taken by the victorious Marshal Saxe.
This great general was the next governor, and he proceeded to levy upon
the people of Brussels the most extortionate taxes. The treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle soon put an end to his rule, however, and restored
Belgium to Austria.

It is a relief to read in the pages of European history that for the
next thirty-six years Belgium was peaceful and prosperous under another
Austrian ruler, Prince Charles of Lorraine. He was devoted to the
interests of the country, and became so popular that the twenty-fifth
anniversary of his government was celebrated by a succession of
brilliant fêtes in the different provinces.

The death of Prince Charles was almost immediately followed by that of
Maria Theresa and the accession of Joseph II to her throne. Full of the
new ideas in regard to human rights with which the eighteenth century
was seething, and truly desirous of improving the condition of his
subjects, he set to work to reform ecclesiastical conditions not only,
but also the whole system of civil and judicial administration.
Conscious of the highest aims, Joseph stubbornly persevered in his
efforts at reform, with the result that his reign was marked by
increasing strife in Belgium, culminating in a revolution. In 1790 the
rebels severed their connection with Austria and formed a confederacy
called the United Belgian States.

After a short and troubled existence of eleven months, the new republic
was invaded by an Austrian army, and submitted to Joseph's successor,
Leopold II, who agreed to restore the ancient forms of government. But
in 1749 the French Revolutionists, having declared war against Austria,
proceeded to invade Belgium. Though these new conquerors came in the
name of liberty, they also brought devastation and tyranny in their
wake. The French, however, held the country until 1814. Napoleon's sway
was despotic, but he carried out the reforms that Joseph II in vain
tried to introduce, and made the organization of the government
practically what it is today. Perfect freedom of worship was
established, and the control of education was given to the State.
Foreign commerce was destroyed, but great advances were made in
agriculture and manufacture.

As we all know, Napoleon returned from his banishment to Elba in March,
1815, and the Congress of Vienna, upon receiving the astounding news,
declared that "neither peace nor truce was possible" with "the common
enemy to the peace of the world." The death grapple of the campaign that
he at once planned was to come upon Belgian soil.

"At half-past three on the morning of June 15, 1815, Napoleon's outposts
crossed the frontier. On the evening of the 15th, Wellington attended
the famous ball in Brussels, the best remembered social function,
perhaps, in history, at the Duchess of Richmond's house." This house has
been pulled down, but the guides still point out the spot. While the
dancing was going on, despatches were brought to the Duke, and he asked
to see the map. On looking at it he exclaimed, "Napoleon has humbugged
me. He has gained twenty-four hours' march on me. I must fight him
here." He put his nail on the map. The scratch that was left was "the
first scar of Waterloo."

"Amongst the dead on the field at Quatre Bras, were officers who still
wore the pumps and silk stockings of the ball room."

Ligny and Quatre Bras were fought on the 16th, and Wellington's masterly
retreat to Waterloo occupied the following day. Then came that
memorable June 18th, the story of which thrills us even today. French
daring was matched with British tenacity. Wellington was perfect master
of the situation, and--he knew Blücher would come. But Napoleon had lost
his grip. This was a day of hard fighting and terrible losses.

"A little after seven o'clock Napoleon prepared to fling his last card
on the iron table of the battlefield; he would send forward his
bearskins, the Old Guard, the final bid for victory." This, too, was in
vain. "The Guard gives way," was the cry that rose everywhere. The first
column was retreating on La Belle Alliance, the second was being driven
across the road to Brussels. From the woods near Hougomont, down the
slopes below La Haye Sainte, the French fled in wild confusion. "At the
same moment Napoleon saw his whole line of battle fall to pieces."

"Napoleon in his flight crossed the battlefield of Quatre Bras. It was
still strewn with the unburied slain, nearly four thousand corpses
stripped quite naked by plunderers; and with what feelings Napoleon in
the darkness of the night rode through those acres of the slain may be
guessed. He drew rein for a moment in that field of the dead, and one
who stood near him records how 'his face was pale as wax and the tears
ran down his cheeks'--and thus across the useless battlefields of that
terrible campaign Napoleon fled on his way to Paris--and beyond it to
St. Helena."[2]

     [2] From "The Great Duke."



A trying period of fifteen years followed the battle of Waterloo. The
Congress of Vienna made Holland and Belgium one kingdom under the name
of the United Netherlands. But this ill-advised union failed. The Dutch
King, William I, was tyrannical and tactless, and ruled entirely in the
interests of Holland. Although the population of Belgium was 1,500,000
more than that of the northern states of the Netherlands, four-fifths of
the army officers and by far the larger part of the government officials
were Dutch. Belgians were forced to pay the public debt of Holland, and
the poorer classes, under the weight of intolerable taxes, faced
starvation. They had fought too long for freedom to endure subjugation.
Only a little encouragement was needed to spur them on to action.

The throng that was assembled in the Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie on
the evening of the 25th of August, 1830, listened for a time quietly
enough to Auber's new opera of "Musette de Portici." But when the
Italian tenor in a stirring solo made an appeal to his countrymen to
rise against foreign tyranny, the excitement of the audience could not
be controlled. Springing to their feet, they caught up the words of the
refrain and sang them over and over again. They rushed from the opera
house into the street, still singing,

    "_A mon pays je dois la vie,
    Il me devra la liberté!_"


The revolution begun in this dramatic fashion continued until Belgium
took its place as a nation among the European powers. The new
Constitution made it one of the freest countries in the world, with
representative government, freedom of the press, trial by jury, freedom
of education, and complete religious tolerance. The family of
Orange-Nassau was forever excluded from the throne, and Prince Leopold
of Saxe-Coburg was chosen king.

Although a Protestant, Leopold proved an excellent king of a Catholic
country, by his wisdom and prudence tiding the nation over several
political crises and firmly establishing the kingdom. While still
prince, he had married Princess Charlotte, heir to the crown of Great
Britain. If she had lived, he would have become Prince Consort of
England, but both the Princess and her only child died the following
year. After assuming the crown of Belgium, Leopold formed an alliance
with France by marrying Emilie Louise, daughter of Louis Philippe.

Leopold's eldest child, a boy, died in babyhood. The daughter,
Charlotte, became the wife of the unfortunate Maximilian, whom Napoleon
III sent to establish a monarchy in Mexico during our Civil War. She
accompanied him to Mexico, was crowned Empress at his side, and when the
Mexicans rose against them, returned to Europe to seek aid. Maximilian
was shot in her absence. At the news of his death she lost her reason,
but she always remembers the fatal date, and shuts herself up in her
château near Brussels and refuses to see any one on that day. She never
forgets that she has been an Empress. In the first days of her madness
she thought she was being poisoned, but this fear was finally overcome
and she was persuaded to eat by one of her favourite ladies-in-waiting.

The third son of Leopold I was Philip, Comte de Flandre, father of King
Albert. Philip died in 1905. It was the second son, Leopold II, who,
in 1865, began a reign of nearly forty-five years. When only eighteen,
he married the Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria, a woman of many
prejudices and peculiarities, who cared for little but horses and dogs.
She did not approve of tennis; she objected to Wagner. She was an
invalid for many years, and it is charitable to suppose that the King's
lack of home life was accountable for some of the scandals associated
with his name.

[Illustration: LEOPOLD I.]

Leopold's only son died before he was ten years old, but there were
three daughters--Louise, who married Duke Philip of Saxe-Coburg;
Stephanie, who married Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria; and Clémentine,
the wife of Prince Victor Napoleon. The marriage of Louise was most
unfortunate, and she left her husband, who was said to be unkind to her.
She has married several times since, and has contracted large debts.
Stephanie's marriage was also unhappy, and ended in the mysterious death
of her husband, who either took his own life or was murdered in his
shooting lodge near Vienna. They had one son, who died in boyhood. His
death, as well as that of King Albert's elder brother, occurred in
January, and it is for that reason that the Belgian royal family say
that January always brings them ill luck. Stephanie is now the wife of
an Austrian Count, and I have heard that during this war she has become
a nurse on the Austrian side. Clémentine and her husband were living in
Brussels at last accounts, and they have two sons. The King prevented
this marriage for some years, as he felt it might make complications
with Republican France. While we were in Belgium, they very kindly
received us.

A charming French lady-in-waiting took us directly into the salon, where
we saw a fine collection of Napoleonic relics. The Princess soon
entered. We found her regal, with dark eyes and blonde hair. She struck
us as a clever woman, with a good deal of power and dash. After a little
while the Prince entered. He was good looking, of medium size, with dark
hair and moustache and handsome eyes. We had a very pleasant half hour.

With all the pageantry of Burgundian days, in a splendid procession of
church dignitaries, troops, and officials of the Government, and
surrounded by royalties, Leopold began his reign with a Joyous Entry
into Brussels, and was duly presented with the keys of the city. The
capital was his immediate care. His first speech from the throne was
upon the subject of beautifying the city and improving its sanitary
condition. It is said, "He found Brussels a city of brick and left it a
city of marble," that "he found a weak kingdom and left a strong one."

Belgium had now a sovereign who was strong, both physically and
mentally. He entered the Senate while still Duc de Brabant, and was soon
recognized as a thinker and orator. But before all else, he was an able
man of business. He had the foresight and breadth of view of a
statesman, with the financial ability and power to handle men that
belong to a captain of industry. He was interested in the construction
of roads and tramway lines, in the extension of the canal system, and in
measures for restoring Antwerp and Bruges, and other Belgian towns to
their ancient position as queens of commerce.

In every way the King sought to develop the resources of his realm, and
the marvelous prosperity of the country before the present war broke out
is proof that he succeeded. In addressing the delegates of industry and
commerce, early in his reign, he said, "We have been the first on the
Continent to construct railways; let us understand how to prolong them
by lines of navigation." It was not many years before Belgian steamship
lines were formed. Under his rule the army was strengthened, and if he
had been allowed to carry out his plans, the country would have had at
least the nucleus of a navy. He had new forts built and the army
increased. It was decided that the army was deficient in numbers and in
quality. The latter defect was owing to a system of recruiting which
allowed any man called to the barracks by the ballot, who did not wish
to serve, to find a substitute, who for a small sum of money, would take
his place. The law doing away with substitutes in the army was one of
the last signed by King Leopold before his death.

An early riser and indefatigable worker, Leopold often summoned his
attendants at five o'clock in the morning and remained at his desk until
evening. All day long, a procession of orderlies on bicycles, in swift
succession, bore his orders from the study at Laeken, where he worked,
to his secretary's office in Brussels.

Although in the previous reign the two political parties, Clericals and
Liberals, had fought some hard battles, the Liberals continued in power
more or less for twenty years. The return of the Catholic party was
effected in 1884, and although their rule has been bitterly contested by
the Opposition, they have held the reins of government for thirty

[Illustration: LEOPOLD II.]

While still Duc de Brabant, Leopold traveled in Morocco and Tunis, and
Algeria and Egypt, as well as in China. On his return he presented to
the statesmen of Belgium a Grecian stone, on which he had inscribed, "Il
faut à la Belgique des Colonies." Ten years later, his dream of
colonization began to be realized.

At the Geographical Congress held in Brussels in September, 1876, which
was attended by representatives from all the great Powers, the question
of the suppression of the slave trade in Africa was discussed. Leopold
wanted to open Africa to civilization, and records and letters of the
time show that he was apparently quite sincere in wishing to suppress a
traffic of unspeakable cruelty, carried on by Arabs and Portuguese
adventurers of the worst type.

The King's speech before the Congress contained the following words:

"The Slave Trade, which still exists over a large part of the African
continent, is a plague spot that every friend of civilization would wish
to see disappear. If we succeed in establishing stations along the
routes followed by the slave merchants this odious traffic will be wiped
out. The stations, while serving as points for travelers, will
powerfully contribute toward the evangelization of the blacks and toward
the introduction to them of commerce and modern industry."

The most important result of the Conference was the formation of the
International Association for the Suppression of the Slave Trade and the
Opening of Central Africa. Leopold was made president, and it was due to
his energy and wisdom that Belgium persevered in this undertaking. In
answer to his appeal for money and men, men of good standing applied,
and money poured in from his people--a little came from other
countries--and his private fortune was freely spent in opening up the
Dark Continent.

When Stanley returned to Europe in 1878, Leopold's agents met him at
Marseilles and secured his services to conduct the work of the
International Association on the Congo. In five years six expeditions
were sent out, and many lives were lost. Stanley planted forty stations,
and established a line of steamers on the river to connect with the
caravan route from the coast. Stations were granted by chiefs in
exchange for guns, coats and other articles that pleased their fancy.

America was first to recognize the new State. At the Congress of Berlin,
in 1884, it was recognized by the great Powers, was declared open to
the commerce of all nations, and the slave trade was prohibited. Ten
years later, the extinction of the African slave trade was accomplished.
Baron Dhanis, with a large force of Belgian troops, conquered the Arab
traders, and completely broke up their iniquitous traffic.

By the decree of 1885 all "vacant" land in the Congo was declared the
property of the State, but in reality it became the property of Leopold.
Land was considered vacant when not actually occupied by buildings or
cultivated for foodstuffs. Not until 1892, however, was this theory made
the actual rule of administration. Before that time, in the words of the
distinguished Belgian Socialist leader, M. Vandervelde (whose wife has
lately been lecturing in America in the cause of Belgian Relief), "The
rights of the natives were recognized, not only over the land they
cultivated, and over the land upon which they had built their
habitations, but also over the forests which form the markets of their
villages; the forests where, from time immemorial, they and their
ancestors hunted the elephant and the antelope, collected palm oil and
kernels, and gathered rubber either for the purposes of sale or for home
use. During that period the Congo State acted as sovereign and not as

To secure rubber now became, however, the single aim of the man who
ruled the Congo. Three commissioners were appointed to enforce the
"system"; a governor-general was selected and district commissioners
were chosen. Under these governors of districts were native captains, or
"_capitas_." The agents in charge of these _capitas_ were paid according
to the amount of rubber collected, so most of them were unscrupulous as
to the means used in obtaining it. The capitas were also paid in
proportion to the quantity of rubber they were able to squeeze from the
natives, and they were so brutal that often whole villages rose up and
killed them.

From travelers, from missionaries, and finally from the British consul
in the Congo came reports of the cruelties practised on the natives. In
July, 1903, a memorable debate took place in the Belgian Chamber, in
which M. Vandervelde and M. Lorand fiercely denounced the policy of
Leopold in the Congo.

M. Vandervelde began by saying he had never denied the greatness of the
effort accomplished by some of his compatriots in Africa. He went on to
say that the object of the discussion was solely to learn if the Congo
State had fulfilled its international obligations; that Belgium had put
fifteen million francs into the Congo railway, had lent thirty-five
million francs to the State; it had given money and men. Among other
things, he emphasized that the commercial question was closely and
inseparably linked to the question of the treatment of the natives.

"The Congo State," said M. Lorand, "has not only become the greatest
vendor of ivory and rubber in the world, but has been enabled with its
surplus revenues to conduct enterprises in China and elsewhere, to
purchase property in Belgium, and concessions at Hankow."

Though there was no immediate result from the agitation in the Belgian
House, the efforts of English reformers made it necessary to take some
action in regard to the complaints. Leopold accordingly appointed a
Commission of Inquiry, composed of a Belgian, an Italian and a Swiss,
all able men. They went out to the Congo, where they examined a
multitude of witnesses, and at the end of a year their conclusions were
published. In this report they practically reiterated--though in
diplomatic language--all the charges of the reformers.

Finally, in 1908, this vast African dependency was annexed to Belgium,
which secured complete parliamentary control over the whole region. The
next year, Prince, now King, Albert and the Colonial Minister, M.
Renkin, visited the Congo State, entering it from opposite sides, and
reform work was soon inaugurated. Forced labour was suppressed, payments
to the natives were made in money, and several zones were opened up to
free trade. The African colony pays its own expenses to-day, but it
contributes little money to Belgium. King Albert refused to receive an
annuity from its revenues, and that money has been used as a pension
fund for those who have served well in the Congo.

In the early days many Belgians went to the Congo to escape debt; today,
they pass examinations, and, if fitted for the positions, are given good
salaries. As the climate is very trying for whites, and the deadly
sleeping sickness still exists, carried by the tsetse fly, the number of
Belgians there, from latest accounts, is only one thousand six hundred.
This includes over three hundred priests. No men from the larger
countries of Europe are wanted in the service of the State, but there
are some fifty Swedes, Americans, Swiss and Italians among the
officials. The justices of the courts are of mixed nationality, but the
most important civil and military positions are kept for Belgians.

Boma, the capital of the Congo State, is now a flourishing town, with
several hundred European houses, a Governor's palace, the Palace of
Justice, and other government buildings, both Protestant and Catholic
churches, a Red Cross hospital, and a telegraphic service to the

[Illustration: KING ALBERT.]

A large part of Leopold's revenue from the Congo was expended in
beautifying Brussels and doing over both the royal palaces. The Congo
Museum, with its fine park and drives, the Colonial School, and the
Cinquantenaire Museum, erected to commemorate fifty years of Belgian
nationality, with its splendid Arch of Triumph, were all built by this

Leopold's long reign came to an end in 1909. His nephew, Prince
Baudouin, who should have succeeded him, died suddenly, so, as women do
not inherit, the crown descended to Baudouin's brother Albert. As I have
said, Albert's father was Philip, Comte de Flandre, the younger brother
of Leopold, and his mother was Marie-Louise-Alexandrine-Caroline, of

King Albert was born in his father's palace in Brussels, on April 8,
1875. He has the best of French and German blood, that of the Orleans
and the Saxe-Coburgs. It is said he resembles his grandfather, Leopold
I. His sister Josephine is the wife of Prince Charles of Hohenzollern,
a cousin of the Kaiser, and his other sister, Henriette, married the Duc
de Vendôme. Prince Charles, who was fair, with a pointed beard, was
bright and amusing when we met him; his wife, although very handsome,
was a little deaf. The Duchesse de Vendôme was distinguished looking,
tall and blonde, like her brother, and the Duke, although rather short,
was most attractive.

Albert's boyhood was spent quietly in study and outdoor life on his
father's estate at Ciergnon. He went through the usual preparation for
military service under the supervision of General Jungblüth, then Chief
of Staff of the Belgian army. From the moment he became heir to the
throne, he set to work to prepare himself for the high position. He
studied political economy with M. Waxweiler, a distinguished member of
the Liberal party, who was at the head of the Sociological Institute.
That he might not be one-sided in his opinions, he became the pupil of
two Catholic priests, one a Jesuit of notable courage and fairness, the
other a Dominican friar. And, finally, it was from Baron Lambremont, one
of the greatest of Belgian diplomats, that he learned the difficult art
of dealing with governments.

Even before the present war, the King's mechanical tastes led him to
take a deep interest in the problems of engineering construction, of
shipbuilding and of aviation. While traveling in this country in 1898,
he is said to have studied American railways under the tutelage of Mr.
James J. Hill, and ten years later, to have gone to Great Britain
incognito in order that he might become familiar with conditions in the
shipyards there. Finally, he is known as a skilful and daring chauffeur.

In view of this fact, the well known journalist, Major Seaman, shortly
returned from Belgium, told me the story was true that King Albert
(accompanied only by his chauffeur) when motoring one day from one part
of the lines to another, noticed that they were taking the road toward
the German trenches. He directed the man to change his course, but soon
found they were still going in the wrong direction. After a second order
had proved unavailing, the King shot the chauffeur and himself drove the
car to his destination, thus defeating an attempt to betray him into the
hands of the Teutons. The money given to the traitor by the Germans was
found on his body.

The Brussels Exposition was held the year after Albert became King. With
his usual conscientiousness, the King not only attended innumerable
congresses that were held in Brussels that year, but personally
entertained the delegates at the royal palace; and, with all this, he is
said to have found time to visit, with the Queen, every exhibit in every
section of the Exposition.

Even before the present war, he was known as "The People's King," and
during this war he has shown himself a man and leader, this hero King,
whose name will be honoured through the centuries. Queen Elizabeth, too,
has their hearts' devotion. "Queen Elizabeth is over there with King
Albert in the midst of the fighting troops. From town to town, from camp
to camp, from trench to trench she goes. She inspires the living, she
consoles the dying; she smiles upon them, she binds up their wounds.
There she is, so gentle, so pitying, in that Flemish land, that sad
Country wrapped in heavy mist, a gray winding sheet softly falling over
so many rigid shrouds. Queen errant, but more a Queen than ever has been
the consort of the most puissant King, she symbolizes her Country, that
Country which is so gashed and wounded, but which will not die. Far from
proud cities and sumptuous palaces, she goes to the soldiers fallen
beneath the leaden rain, and as she passes near them the eyes of the
dying are lifted up to her for a last look, a last tear."[3]

     [3] Roland de Marès (_Le Temps_).

[Illustration: QUEEN ELIZABETH.]

The Crown Prince, although only thirteen years old, is in the Belgian
army. The Queen entered a meek protest against her husband's taking
their son to the front, but he answered, "I have him with me to teach
him how serious a thing it is to be a King."

In an interview with Mr. Hall--a journalist whom I met at the Belgian
Legation in Washington,--one of the most striking things King Albert
said was this:

"This war was unavoidable. It had been postponed several times within
the last few years, and if it had not been for England's efforts it
would have come at the time of the last Balkan crisis. Germany had been
piling on armament for years, had been building up a war machine so
perfect and so powerful that at a given time it was bound to start
itself. When you have built a monster ship, you cannot continue piling
on weight all the time, or the day will come when the vessel will slip
off the ways of her own accord. This thing has happened in more than one

"When the crisis came I had hopes that the protection of international
treaties would be sufficient to protect Belgium, but in any case there
was no question as to what the Belgian people would do. The violation of
our territory united every faction, and although we were taken by
surprise we did our best and offered what resistance we could."

Mr. Hall writes: "After the defense of Liège King Albert took the field
with his army and fought back all the way to Antwerp. He led both the
sorties from Antwerp in person, and fought with the rear guard that
covered the retreat of his army to the Yser."

The Germans drove the Belgian army from one position to another until
only a strip of Belgium was left. "The King continued to fight in the
bogs and marshes of western Flanders, still undaunted, still defiant,
still calm and serene."

An Englishman asked a Belgian soldier if King Albert was beloved. The
answer was, "No, Monsieur, he is not beloved.... Before the war he was
beloved--today he is adored."

Emile Verhaeren wrote in King Albert's book: "At this moment you are the
one King in the world whose subjects, without exception, unite in loving
and admiring him with all the strength of their soul. This unique fate
is yours, sire. No leader of men on earth has had it in the same degree
as you.

"In spite of the immensity of the sorrow surrounding you, I think you
have a right to rejoice, the more so as your consort, Her Majesty the
Queen, shares this rare privilege with you.

"Sire, your name will be great throughout the ages to come. You are in
such perfect sympathy with your people that you will always be their
symbol. Their courage, their tenacity, their stifled grief, their pride,
their future greatness, their immortality all live with you. Our hearts
are yours in their very depths. Being yourself, you are all of us. And
this you will remain."



Belgian politics had a peculiar fascination for me from the first. It
began perhaps with my amazement at their system of plural voting, which
was different from anything of which I had ever heard. But the more I
learned of the various issues and parties, the stronger the spell
became. The little country was working very hard trying to solve its
many problems, and was so fearless and original in some of the methods
it used that you could not help but admire its pluck and spirit.

To any casual traveler it must have seemed that the country was divided
against itself. It had two languages, one based on French, the other a
Low German dialect, and the people themselves were of two different
races. The Walloons have Latin blood, while the Flemings are of Teutonic
ancestry. In spite of all this, they lived together in peace for many
years, and during the past year have stood shoulder to shoulder against
their common enemy.

Another extraordinary thing about political conditions there was, that
while ninety-nine per cent. of the people were Roman Catholics,
Socialism flourished. That these two bitterly opposed organizations
should both grow strong in the same soil was even more surprising--on
the surface--than the bi-lingual and bi-racial patriotism of the

"Thanks to Belgium's very advanced capitalistic development," said M.
Vandervelde in this connection, "it constitutes a curious laboratory of
social experiment."

The Clerical party had been in power twenty-eight years when we were
there, and the diplomats rarely came in contact with the members of any
other faction. I do remember seeing a big Socialist parade, held on the
first of May; it was made up, apparently, of quiet and orderly men. On
the other hand, the country seemed to swarm with priests. In addition to
those who lived there, many thousands had come in a few years before
when they left France.

There were practically only two political parties: the Clerical, which
was the conservative or Church party, and the Liberal, which was closely
allied with the Socialists and Democrats. The members of these last
three factions formed indeed a coalition, or "bloc," which frequently
contrived to check the work of the opposition, despite the fact that
they had but eighty representatives to the Clericals' eighty-six. This
coalition had been gaining steadily for the past twelve years.

The national assembly was composed of a Senate and a Chamber of
Deputies, both of which were, in the main, elective. The former had 102
members who served eight years without pay, except a railroad pass. The
lower house had 166 members who served four years and received, not only
a railroad pass, but $800 a year besides.

Belgium was divided into nine provinces, whose governors were appointed
by the King, just as the governors of our territories are appointed by
the President. These provinces were subdivided into 342 cantons, much
like our counties, and these again into over two thousand communes.
Every two years the country voted in sections for half of each house. A
majority of the five Flemish provinces went Clerical, while the four
Walloon districts went Liberal.

Every man old enough to do so was compelled by law to go to the polls
and cast his vote or votes when election day arrived. If for any reason
he was absolutely unable to go, he must send a written explanation of
his absence.

Belgium's novel method of voting was adopted some twenty-odd years ago,
as a compromise between the existing property qualification and the
equal suffrage which the Socialists were demanding. Like most
compromises, it was not wholly satisfactory to any one. Up to the time
when the war turned the attention of the people to more important
matters than politics it was the cause of a great deal of controversy.
But as conditions stood in 1893, the system of plural voting was a
masterpiece of diplomacy, for each of the three parties--Clerical,
Liberal and Socialist--had its own ideas as to the sort of persons who
should be granted the ballot, and of course no two agreed as to the
necessary qualifications.

The Clericals wished to have the franchise granted on the basis of
occupation and property; the Liberals thought it should be bestowed on
all who were sufficiently educated to use the power intelligently; the
Socialists, however, insisted upon universal suffrage for men and women
alike, without preference or favour.

The Clericals got their wish outright--property and professional rights
were recognized generously. The Liberals also got what they wanted--a
vote for every man with a college education. The Socialists got half of
their demands, which was all that they could reasonably have expected
at a time when votes for women were not being widely advertised.

But of the three parties, only the first has shown any measure of
satisfaction with the arrangement, for plural voting plays into the
hands of the Church. Indeed, the only hope of the Clerical party was
said to lie in its maintenance, while the great hope of the Liberal wing
lay in its overthrow.

Briefly, the system of plural voting is this: Every male citizen of
Belgium who had reached the age of twenty-five years was qualified to
cast--and by law must cast--one vote. Every man of thirty-five who had
children and paid at least $1 a year income tax, might cast two votes,
while those without children could get this second vote if they had real
estate amounting to $400, or $20 a year income from state securities.
Any man who had filled a public position, who had a profession, or who
held a college diploma, was entitled to a third vote, or to two in
addition to his first manhood suffrage. This third vote could also be
obtained by a property qualification. No one might have more than three
votes in all.

This was the way it would work out in an individual case: A workman at
twenty-five receives one vote. He marries, becomes the head of a
family, and at thirty-five receives a second vote. Then, if he buys a
house--even if it is mortgaged--he gets a third. It can easily be seen
how such a system might encourage thrift and industry, and even
responsible citizenship.

Indeed, on the face of it, this system of plural voting seems nearly
ideal. A writer in the _Contemporary Review_ seriously advocated its
adoption in England. It has the advantage of putting the weight of power
on the educated classes, while still giving to every man some share in
the government. Our own "one man, one vote" appears rather crude and
arbitrary by contrast with this carefully graded electorate.

For all that, it did not work out very well in practice. The educated
upper classes were not always disinterested, and they were nearly always
conservative. Poor men are naturally adventurous when they see a chance
for gain, but when comfortable they are more and more inclined to hang
back, reluctant to risk their present comfort for any hazardous
improvement. The story of a young captain of militia who got separated
from his company in a strike riot and cried--"Where are my men? I am
their leader--I must follow them!" illustrates this point. There was a
lively agitation for electoral reform while we were there.

At the root of much of the political strife was the question of schools.
Should the Church share with the State in the education of the children,
or should the public schools be purely secular?

The coalition of liberal parties demanded for every child up to fourteen
years of age a compulsory education, which must be followed by two years
of training along some technical line. They insisted, moreover, that
every commune should be bound to provide adequate schools, from which
both religion and politics must be barred. Although they never achieved
this, the steady gain of the coalition in recent years has been
attributed to their stand in educational matters.

The Belgian Constitution provides for two kinds of schools, State and
"free." The latter, corresponding to private schools in our country,
were not under Government control, and were, indeed, generally under the
management of the clergy. Prior to 1878 the Church had also, step by
step, gained a certain amount of influence in the State schools, but in
that year the Liberals came into power and suppressed clerical
inspection. As a result of this, six years later, the Liberals went
down to defeat and did not regain their power. From that time on, the
curriculum of the State schools included religious instruction, although
it was not compulsory.

It seems strange now to remember that only a very short time ago one of
the burning issues in Belgium was militarism. Then they were facing much
the same question which is before us today in this country: Should they
have a large standing army, with all the burden of service and taxation
that it entailed, or should they try the system in use in Switzerland?
There every man is equipped, and drilled for a short time each year, but
there is only a very small regular army. The Belgians compromised by
blocking up all the entrances to their country by means of strong
fortifications, with the idea that no invader would gain enough by
crossing their territory to make it worth the trouble. If they had had
the army too, the story might have had a somewhat different ending.

The year that we were there, there was much fear as to the result of the
elections. The talk was such as to make you feel that the end of the
world was at hand if the Clericals failed to win, and that if they did
win, there would surely be a revolution. Our own papers had greatly
exaggerated accounts of the trouble in Brussels following the
elections, with stories of sieges and revolutions and all kinds of
violence. But although the riots themselves amounted to little, they
were of such significance as a part of the general social and political
unrest throughout the world that I insert an account of them here.

The general elections were held in Belgium on Sunday, the second of
June, 1913, and resulted in the maintenance in power of the clerical
conservative Government. The dissolution had been brought about by the
gradually diminishing majority of the Clericals in Parliament till they
had kept themselves in office by an excess in the Chamber of Deputies of
only six votes.

It was expected that the elections would be very close, owing to the
alliance which had been formed for this campaign between the two
opposition parties of Liberals and Socialists. It was the surprise of
the election that the returns for the new Parliament showed a
substantial gain for the party in power. It seemed that the Clericals
had come back from the country with a majority of sixteen in the
Chamber, while in the Senate their supremacy was also maintained.

An explanation of these gains was afterwards found in the defection of
many Liberals at the last moment because they feared the alliance with
the Socialists and preferred, after all, as the lesser of the two evils,
the Clerical ministry, such as Belgium had prospered under for nearly
thirty years. Liberal officers of the army could not bear alliance with
the anti-monarchical party, moreover, and the high finance and
commerce--the Liberal bourgeoisie--feared radical changes.

The defeated parties raised the cry of corruption, and of the advantage
which the plural vote gave the government forces, since it was the
educated and official classes and the rural population which benefited
by the allowance of a second or third vote. Afterwards a more active
campaign than ever was waged in favour of the "one man, one vote"
suffrage by those out of power. Throughout the rural communities the
Clericals developed a well-organized machine in the "Boerenbonden," or
agricultural syndicates, which might have been subventions of the
Government but were generally in the hands of the priests.

A more immediate result of the conclusive character of the elections was
that many of the demonstrations that were feared in case of a close vote
lapsed through lack of heart and of excuse for agitation. The Government
had expressed a determination to maintain the peace, and troops were
held in readiness in their barracks; civil guards were also ordered
under arms during certain hours of the day when trouble was especially
likely, and were bivouacked in the parks and the courts of public
buildings, as evidence to the people of serious preparations for the
repression of disorder.

There were small riots in Brussels, resulting in a few wounds and
arrests, but these seem to have been more or less formal, and the work
of the rougher element. In some of the other cities, especially in the
industrial parts of Belgium, and in the Borinage, or colliery district,
there were disorders and strikes more or less serious. In Liège there
was a riot with several deaths resulting.

But everywhere the result of the election was accepted more quietly than
had been feared. The leaders of the defeated parties showed selfcontrol
and attempted to restrain their following, so that the rioting and
strikes were more the result of the excitement of the masses, who were
taking advantage of the excuse which politics always gives for breaking
out into disorder, than of agitation with any immediate political effect
in view.

The Premier of the continued Government was Baron de Broqueville, an
astute and moderate man. But there were able and fanatic elements in the
Clerical party which it was feared might try to force legislation,
especially in the matter of education. This would prove such an
aggravation to the more liberal thinkers in the country as to lead to
further disorders.


But when the war broke, all differences of opinion were forgotten, and
every man, Clerical or Socialist, gave himself without reserve to the
common cause of his country's need. Baron de Broqueville and M.
Vandervelde worked side by side in the Cabinet. The Government was moved
from Brussels to Antwerp, as the invaders drew near, and on again from
Antwerp to Ostend and later to Havre. But in the narrow strip of Belgian
soil which still remains, the King and his Ministers daily share the
same dangers and hardships, and toil for the same end. For the time at
least, party differences have been forgotten in a cause immeasurably



Belgium was slightly larger than the State of Massachusetts, yet she
ranked eighth among the nations in wealth, and sixth in commerce.
Antwerp was one of the five great ports of the world, with more
dock-room than New York.

Several favouring conditions enabled her to compete so successfully with
her big neighbours. Rivers and canals gave her inland cities easy access
to the sea. Much of the raw material for her foundries and factories was
to be found within her own boundaries, while fuel for her engines was
furnished cheaply by her own mines. Most important, perhaps, labour was
abundant, low of cost, and highly skilled. In her people really lay
Belgium's greatest strength, for they are hardy and thrifty, and
peculiarly skilled as mechanicians.

They used to say that while France furnished mankind with their
luxuries, Belgium supplied them with their necessities. But this is not
wholly true, for the smaller country is celebrated for its exquisite
lace and superb tapestries, while the gardens of Ghent raised orchids,
azaleas and camellias for the flower-markets of France, Germany, England
and even America.

These were the exports of Belgium, in the order of their importance:
coal, iron, steel and zinc; firearms; glass; cement; ceramics; cotton,
wool and flax; furniture and lace.

The centers of the metal, coal and glass industries were in the Walloon
districts, especially in Charleroi and Liège, while the textile centers
were, for the most part, in Flanders.

The story of how coal was first discovered in Belgium has been told a
thousand times, but rarely, I think, in America. It seems that in a
village not far from Liège there lived--some seven hundred years ago--a
poor blacksmith named Houllos. One day he found himself quite out of
money. He could not work to earn more, because he had no wood to heat
his forge. While he sat bewailing his fate a mysterious stranger
appeared and asked the cause of his woe. When he had heard the mournful
story, "Take a large sack," said he, "and go to the Mountain of the
People. There you must dig down three feet into the earth. You will find
a black, rocky substance, which you must put into the sack and bring
home. Break it up, and burn it in your forge." This is the reason why,
in Belgium, coal still bears the name of _huille_, in memory of the
blacksmith of Liège. Some think the stranger was an Englishman, since
coal was already in use in London. But tradition has insisted that
_ange_ and not _Anglais_, is the proper word, and that Houllos
entertained an angel.

Near Mons are the great mounds of slag which were begun in the earliest
times and look today not unlike the pyramids of Egypt. Whatever the
origin of the mining industry in Belgium, there is nothing idyllic about
the conditions there in modern times. The coal region of the Borinage is
known as Le Pays Noir, and it certainly deserves the name.

The miners are called _Borains_, or coal-borers. "They live both on the
earth and in the earth, delving amid the black deposits of vast primeval
forests." Owing to their former long hours, which have been somewhat
shortened in late years, the present generation is dwarfish, the men
often under five feet and the women still less. Most of them cannot read
or write, and they have little pleasure save what comes from beer. (More
beer was sold per head in Belgium than even in Germany.) Of the hundred
and twenty-five thousand miners in the country, three-quarters belonged
to Hainault.

There are in all over a hundred coal mines in Belgium, the area of those
that were worked amounting to over ninety thousand acres, and of those
not worked to forty thousand more. A new coal field has been discovered
in the north but has not been exploited as yet. Although the home
consumption was steadily increasing, and averaged nearly three tons per
capita, large amounts were exported to France and Holland. It was sold
at a closer margin than in any other of the mining countries.

Mining was commenced on the out-crops eight or nine hundred years ago,
but it was only when steam-engines were invented that the miners were
able to reach the deeper parts of the coal measures, and the yield was
greatly increased.

Firearms have been manufactured in Liège since midway in the fourteenth
century. The first portable arms were the cannon and handgun, both
adjusted to very heavy, straight butt-ends and very difficult to handle.
They were loaded with stones, lead or iron balls. The musket and
arquebus came later, and had matchlocks, an idea suggested by the
trigger of the crossbow.

The first exporters of Liège arms were naildealers, who possessed from
immemorial times commercial relations with the most distant countries.
After the invention of the flint-lock in the seventeenth century the gun
trade made rapid progress. The number of workmen became enormous. The
superiority of Liège arms was recognized all over the world, and the
gunworkmen received offers of high salaries to induce them to go to
France, England, Germany and Austria. Several of them were engaged to
work at the Royal Manufactory of Arms at Potsdam. Much of the best work
was done at the worker's own house, and in order to prevent any decline
in the individual skill of the men to whom Liège owed so much of its
fame, the union of manufacturers of arms created a professional school
of gunnery, where they could be specially trained. In this way they
hoped to avoid the danger that the facility which machinery gives the
workman would cause him to lose interest in his hand-work at home, which
requires such varied knowledge and ability.

Cotton spinning was one of the most important textile industries. Over a
million spindles were employed, most of them in the two provinces of
Hainault and Brabant, and in the city of Ghent. Most of the cotton came
from America and Egypt.

[Illustration: _An Old Lacemaker_]

Verviers, in Liège, was the center of the wool-spinning industry. Here
again the superior skill of the artisans established the reputation of
the Belgian article. Most of the wool came from Australia and the Cape.

For its flax spindles, however, Belgium raised its own material. The
flax of Courtrai was considered the best in all Europe. More than half
the finished thread was exported to England. The abundance of this
material doubtless led to the early development of lace-making, for
which the women of the country became so famous.

Flanders claims to be the birthplace of pillow-lace--_dentelles aux
fuseaux_--and disputes with Italy the invention of lace generally. In
earlier times drawn or cut work was often confused with lace, as was
embroidery of one sort or another, and for this reason it is difficult
to trace the art definitely back to its beginning. Ornamental needlework
was done in Old Testament days, for Isaiah mentions those who "work in
fine flax and weave networks." But real lace-making--the interweaving of
fine threads of flax, cotton, silk, of silver, gold or hair, to form a
network--did not appear till the time of the Renaissance, when all the
arts of Europe awoke to life. In a chapel at St. Peter's, in Louvain,
was an altar-piece painted in 1495 by Quentin Matsys, which showed a
girl making lace on a pillow like those still in use to this day.

The manufacture of lace began in Brussels about the year 1400. The city
excelled from the first in the quality of the work done there. This was
due to the fineness of the thread of Brabant, which the women spun inch
by inch with such painstaking care that it defied competition. A pound
of flax was sometimes transmuted into lace worth several thousand

The lace industry was the only one in Flanders which survived the
upheavals of the sixteenth century. Its prosperity alone tided the
distracted people over their difficulties and saved them from the ruin
which threatened. The women plodded on at their slow task, hour after
hour, thread after thread, for a pitiful few cents a day, and never knew
that they had saved their country. "They are generally almost blind
before thirty years of age," wrote an early chronicler.

The women of Belgium have always been specially adept with the needle,
and it may be that the rainy weather so prevalent there had something to
do with the development of this indoor industry. Certainly lace-making
is--or was, until very recently--practised in all the provinces except
Liège, and in some districts it could be said that every woman, young or
old, handled the bobbins or the needle. It was, indeed, the national

As a rule, the women worked to order and by contract, and were paid by
the piece. The lace, when finished, was handed over to the local
middleman, who, in turn, sold it to the contractors in the cities. The
children learned the art from their mother or--more often--from the nuns
in the various convent schools. They would enter these schools when six
or eight years old, and often remained there till their marriage. The
nuns did much to keep up the ancient traditions of the art, and even in
their convents in the Far East today they make a point of teaching the
native children to copy European laces.

There are two kinds of lace, point and pillow. The former is made with a
needle, and its characteristic feature is the "set-off" of the flowers.
The needle laces, of Belgium are divided into Brussels point, Brussels
appliqué, Venice, rose and Burano points.

Several classes of workers are needed for each piece--those who make the
openwork ornaments and the flowers, and those who apply them on to the
background, a very delicate task. Brussels point is the finest example
of this form of lace, and indeed of any lace made in Belgium at the
present time. The designs are very elaborate, with the flowers often in
relief. Modern Brussels point is, however, too frequently an imitation,
with flowers sewn on to a machine-made net that is often rather coarse,
while the application is done by unskilled fingers.

Of pillow lace there are many kinds, and their chief characteristic is
the outline of the design. The lace is made on a cushion or pillow which
stands on a frame, with little spools or bobbins for the threads, and
pins for fixing the lace on the pattern.

The best kinds of pillow lace are duchess, Mechlin, and Valenciennes.
"Valenciennes the eternal," they called it, because by working fourteen
hours a day for a year you made less than half a yard. Marie Therèse had
a dress of it which took a year to make and cost fourteen thousand
dollars. Considering that the workers received barely a cent an hour,
one gets some idea of the magnitude of the task. The Béguinage in Ghent
was the headquarters for the manufacture of this lace, but only a few
old nuns remain there now who know the secrets of its making.
Machine-made imitations flood the market, and the former process is too
costly to make it worth any one's while to master it.

[Illustration: BRUSSELS POINT LACE.]

Mechlin is the Flemish name for the town of Malines, and both words are
used in connection with the lace which originated there. Mechlin is the
airiest and most exquisite of laces, but its very delicacy made it too
costly, and since it could be so easily and cheaply imitated, it is no
longer made by hand. It was constructed in one piece, with no
application, a flat thread forming the flower and giving it almost the
appearance of embroidery. Napoleon, who admired it greatly, cried out
when he saw the delicate spire of Antwerp Cathedral that it was like
"_la dentelle de Malines_."

In spite of the fact that the art of making lace had fallen upon hard
days, the lacemakers' ball was still an important event of the season
when we were in Brussels. It came in carnival week, and was the occasion
on which the Société de la Grande Harmonie received the King and Queen.
It interested me to see how Their Majesties were welcomed by such a
representative body of middle-class citizens--there was the most genuine
enthusiasm I have ever seen shown towards royalty.

The Diplomatic Corps had been invited to attend, and we were taken to a
platform at the end of a great room, where the royal chairs were
placed, and chairs in rows for the Corps and the Court and the Ministers
of State. Beyond the columns which divided the hall into three parts
were arranged the seats for the members of the society. The center of
the floor remained clear, and here the tableaux and pageants
representing the various stages in the history of lace were performed.
In their pageant the lacemakers all wore examples of their craft.

One of the prettiest incidents occurred when the groups of costumed
personages separated and there passed along the length of the ballroom
floor two little children, a boy and a girl, dressed as a page and a
miniature lady-in-waiting. They advanced slowly, and presented to the
King and Queen books which told of the evening's entertainment. The
Queen rose and apparently questioned the president of the society about
the little girl who stood so shyly before her. Then, taking the book,
she stooped down and kissed her. It was very prettily and naturally
done, and caused a round of appreciative applause and cries of "Long
live the Queen!"

Another attractive feature was that of the tiny children who represented
the Flemish lacemakers, each one wearing the costume of the trade. They
passed in procession before the Queen and each, with a little courtesy,
laid a bouquet of flowers at her feet.

I was surprised to find that Brussels was the market for lace from all
over the world, and that foreign laces of every description were copied
there by the skilful _dentellières_. This was still true, in spite of
the marked decline which the industry had shown of late, especially
since the introduction of machinery.

Where a generation ago one hundred and fifty thousand women were
employed, in 1910 there were barely twenty thousand. Their product had
lost in quality, too, as well as in quantity. The old nuns who did the
wonderful, intricate stitches, were dying off and there were none to
take their places. The pattern-makers, also, were contenting themselves
with easier designs. Belgium was "speeding up," with the rest of the
world, and the painstaking arts had to suffer. Modern laces are
carelessly made, in comparison with those of former days, and from
inferior designs.

The wages paid those who still work at the craft seem low indeed,
especially when the long years of apprenticeship are considered.
Verhaegen, in statistics collected in 1910, cites a girl of thirteen who
was working ten hours a day, making in fifty-five hours a meter of Cluny
lace for which she received about fifty cents. Children of fourteen
were working seventy-two hours a week for something less than a cent an
hour, and grown women earned little more. The workers were not
organized, and the middlemen seem to have prospered accordingly.

But the pay was low in all branches of industry, even those which were
well organized. An English writer noted that the rate of wages per hour
for men in Belgium was only about half that prevailing in Britain, while
the cost of living was nearly the same. The average earnings of the
breadwinner of the family were about $165 a year. These facts certainly
account for the development of coöperation.

This movement, which had a great vogue throughout the country, started
in Ghent in 1873. Bread was scarce, and famine prices prevailed. A group
of poor weavers conceived the idea of baking for themselves and their
friends at cost. Their capital consisted of the vast sum of seventeen
dollars and eighteen cents. Their bakery was in a cellar, and their
utensils were antiquated. They could not afford a dog to deliver their
wares, which were taken from door to door in a basket. But this was only
the beginning. The "free bakers," as they called themselves, came to
have for their headquarters one of the finest buildings in Ghent.

A few years later Edouard Anseele, realizing the power of the new
movement, decided that it should be identified with Socialism for their
mutual benefit. To that end was organized the Vooruit, which has
branches all over Belgium, and in other countries as well.

Instead of returning the profits made on bread sold at market prices to
the purchasers, as had been originally done, a percentage was retained
for the support of the organization in its various departments. There
was a mutual benefit fund, for instance: bread was sent to members out
of work; a doctor went to those who were ill; a trained nurse was at
hand to look after the first baby and to instruct the mother in its

When the Church set up rival bakeries, the Vooruit went farther. It
established its first "_maison du peuple_," which has since been
duplicated in many places. Every need of the people was supposed to find
here its satisfaction. There was a café, with tables in the park, and
lights and music. There were lectures, dances, debates, concerts,
movies. There was a theater where the actors and the plays were chosen
by the vote of the audience, which, by the way, strongly favoured their
own Maeterlinck. Besides a library and a day nursery, there was a big
department store, and in the same building were the headquarters for all
the allied and friendly organizations--trade unions, coöperative and
socialistic societies, and so on.

One of the most interesting activities of the Vooruit was the traveling
club for children, bands of whom went from town to town, picking up
recruits as they went, seeing their own land first, then--this was
before the war--crossing the border into France or Germany, where the
local Vooruits made them welcome. A common practice was for children of
the French and Flemish parts of the country to be exchanged for long
visits, so that they might have a chance to learn each other's language.

When the organization, which had always before refused to sell alcoholic
drinks, found itself bitterly opposed by the liquor interests,
especially in the mining districts, it built breweries of its own. In
this way it was able to give the working men pure beer at a very low

The Maison du Peuple in Brussels was established in 1881, with a capital
of about one hundred dollars. It began, like the one in Ghent, as a
bakery, and owned a dog and a small cart to make deliveries. At last
accounts the society had over ninety dogs. It is amusing to read that
these had their own kitchens, where their cooking was done, and their
bathrooms, where they were kept clean.

And when one is speaking of the workers of Belgium, the dogs should not
be forgotten, for the larger breeds were very useful members of the
industrial system. Laundresses, bakers and vendors used them in
distributing their wares, and they were of great service on the farm.
But perhaps the commonest sight was that of a dog hitched to a cart
filled with shining brass and copper milk cans. They were all carefully
inspected to see that their harness fitted properly, and that they were
provided with a drinking bowl and with a mat to lie down on when they
were tired.

The Government made a point, indeed, of seeing that conditions were as
comfortable as possible for the animals. The poor cannot afford to keep
a dog simply for a pet; there are no scraps from the table to feed him,
because no thrifty housewife leaves any scraps; he must do his share and
earn his keep like the others.

At a time when France laid a heavy tax on imported laces, dogs made
excellent smugglers. They were kept for a time on the French side of the
line, petted and well fed; then they were sent over into Belgium, where
they were allowed to become thoroughly homesick. Skins of larger dogs
were lined with contraband lace and tied on to them, and they were
headed for home and set free. Of course they naturally sought their own
firesides, and the lace went with them. When the ruse was discovered,
over forty thousand of them were captured and put to death.

Since the war began, dogs have been of great service in dragging the
mitrailleuses, the light machine-guns, as well as in helping their
masters carry their household goods to a place of safety. The police
dogs were wonderfully trained, and have been used by the Red Cross to
find the wounded in remote places and to carry first aid.

The same high standards of efficiency by which Belgian workmen made a
national reputation for their various manufactures showed also in the
cultivation of the ground. The whole western part of the country was one
vast market-garden, but it was no happy chance of soil and climate that
made it so. Generations of unbroken toil on the part of a patient,
skilful peasantry, equipped with the most primitive tools but with a
positive genius for their work, were necessary. So recently as the first
half of the nineteenth century there was a wild stretch of land west of
the Scheldt known as the Pays de Waes, which was uncultivated and
desolate. Today it is wonderfully fertile, its little truck farms
supporting five hundred people to the mile.


Flanders as a whole, indeed, had poor soil, often "an almost hopeless
blowing sand." The method of reclamation usually began with the planting
of oats, rye or broom. This was used three years for forage and then
plowed in, after which the land became capable of producing clover. The
rotation of crops was worked out with great care, according to the
special needs of the soil. The Belgian wheat crop averaged thirty-seven
bushels to the acre in 1913, while in the same year "up-to-the-minute"
America raised only fifteen bushels.

The soil is particularly suited to hemp and flax, the latter furnishing
not only oil but fiber, of which the British markets bought ten million
dollars' worth annually. Poppies were grown for oil. Tobacco yielded two
tons to the acre, and white carrots eight hundred bushels.

The Flemish farmer did most of his work by hand, with no other implement
than a spade, which has been called the national tool. The population
was so large that human labour was cheaper than animal. In sixteen days
a man could dig up an acre of land as well as a horse could plow it. A
farmer was able to support himself, his wife and three children, keep a
cow and fatten a hog, on two and a half acres. With another acre he had
a surplus product to carry to market. A man with a capable wife and
children could do all the work on six acres and have time left for
outside interests. If he was fortunate enough to have horses they were
the pride of his heart and he kept them always finely groomed and in the
pink of condition.

The women of the country married early, raised large families, and
worked hard. They were good managers, especially in the Walloon
districts where they often carried on some industry besides their
housekeeping. For centuries their chief employment was making lace. The
Government established schools of housekeeping, where the girls learned
domestic economy in every branch; they were sent to market, for
instance, with six cents to buy the materials for a meal, which they
afterwards cooked and served.

The Government indeed did everything it could to improve conditions in
the country districts and to encourage farming. It established schools
of agriculture, with dairy classes for the girls, and aided in starting
coöperative societies. Its policies were far-seeing and marked by a
really paternal interest, as well they might have been, for to her
sturdy peasants--and to the peasants' sturdy wives--were due the
foundations of Belgian prosperity.



As we were intensely interested in tapestries we often went to the
Museum to study and admire the most famous set in Brussels, an early
Renaissance series of four pieces, called Notre Dame du Sablon.

These hangings illustrate an old fourteenth-century story, which I
condense from Hunter's delightful work on "Tapestries." Beatrix
Stoelkens, a poor woman of Antwerp, was told by the Virgin in a dream to
get from the church of Notre Dame a little image of the Madonna. In
obedience to the vision she obtained the statuette and took it to a
painter, who decorated it in gold and colours. After Beatrix had
returned it to the church, the Virgin clothed it with such grace that it
inspired devotion in all who saw it. Then Our Lady appeared a second
time to Beatrix, and directed her to carry the statue to Brussels. When
she attempted to get it, the warden of the church interfered, but he
found himself unable to move, and Beatrix bore away the little Madonna
in triumph. She embarked for Brussels in an empty boat, which stemmed
the current as if piloted by unseen hands. On arriving at her
destination, she was received by the Duke of Brabant and the magistrates
of the city, and the precious little statue was carried in procession to
the church of Notre Dame du Sablon.

This set bears the date 1518, when Brussels was no longer under a
Burgundian Duke, but Charles V was ruler of the Netherlands. The
designer of the set followed the Gothic custom of representing the story
under the forms of his own day, so, instead of the Duke of Brabant,
Philip the Fair, father of Charles V, is pictured receiving the Madonna
from the hands of Beatrix at the wharf, Charles V and his brother
Ferdinand are bearing it in a litter to the church, and Margaret of
Austria, aunt of Charles, kneels in prayer before the niche where the
sacred image has been placed.

When in New York it always gives us pleasure to go to the Metropolitan
Museum to see the finest Belgian set in the United States, the
Burgundian Sacraments, woven in the early fifteenth century. This
splendid example of Gothic workmanship was made in the days when Philip
the Good had brought the power of Burgundy to its zenith. When the
great Duke wanted to have magnificent hangings for the chamber of his
son (who was afterward Charles the Bold), he ordered a set of tapestries
from the weavers of Bruges. All that remains of this splendid work of
art is now in the New York Museum--five pieces, which form half of the
original set. The complete series consisted of two rows of scenes, the
upper seven representing the Origin of the Seven Sacraments, the lower,
the Seven Sacraments as Celebrated in the Fifteenth Century. This set
shows wonderful weaving, "with long hatchings that interpret marvelously
the elaborately figured costumes and damask ground."

There are other exquisite tapestries in America, too, for the Committee
of Safety in 1793 imported some American wheat into France, and when the
time came to pay it proffered _assignats_. Naturally enough, the
Americans objected, but there was no money. "Then they offered, and the
United States was obliged to accept in payment, some Beauvais tapestries
and some copies of the Moniteur."

Tapestries required muscular strength, for the material was heavy, and
so men were given this work in town workshops. The ladies did the
needle, bobbin and pillow work in the castles and convents. True
tapestry is always woven on a loom, and is a combination of artistic
design with skill in weaving.

This tapestry industry was introduced into Western Europe in the Middle
Ages by the Moors, but we can trace the art of making woven pictures to
much earlier times. The ancient Romans had them. Ovid describes the
contest in weaving between Arachne and Pallas, in which the maiden
wrought more beautifully than the goddess. Pallas in anger struck the
maid, who hanged herself in her rage because she dared not return the
blow. The goddess, relenting, changed Arachne into a spider, and she
continues her weaving to this day.

But a much earlier poet has described the making of tapestry. We read in
the Odyssey that, when the return of Ulysses to his native land was long
delayed, his faithful wife Penelope postponed a decision among the
suitors who importuned her by promising to make a choice when she had
finished weaving the funeral robe for Laertes, her husband's father. The
robe was never completed, for each night she took out the work of the
day before.

It is a very interesting fact that a Grecian vase has come down to us on
which is a painting of Penelope and her son Telemachus. Penelope is
seated at what the experts say is certainly a tapestry loom, though
somewhat different from those used at a later day.

We have no large pieces done by the Greeks and the Romans, but many
small bands for use as trimmings of robes. Some of these were woven by
the Greeks as early as the fourth century B.C., others were made in
Egypt under Roman rule some centuries later, and are called Coptic. From
these one can trace the series through the silken Byzantine, Saracenic
and Moorish dress tapestries to the Gothic fabrics of the fourteenth

The Flemish and Burgundian looms were those of Arras, Brussels, Tournai,
Bruges, Enghien, Oudenarde, Middlebourg, Lille, Antwerp, and Delft in
Holland. The value of the tapestry industry to Flanders may be judged
from the fact that Arras, a city of no importance whatever, from which
not a single great artist had come, led all Europe for about two
centuries in tapestry weaving.

Although some fine pieces were woven in the fourteenth century, as far
as known, only two sets of Arras tapestries of this period are left. One
set is at the cathedral of Angers in rather bad condition, for they were
not appreciated at one time, and were used in a greenhouse and cut up
as rugs. Fortunately, they have been restored and returned to the
cathedral. The other set of early Arras hangings is to be found at the
cathedral of Tournai, in Belgium. A piece of this set bore an
inscription--which has fortunately been preserved for us--stating,
"These cloths were made and completed in Arras by Pierrot Féré in the
year one thousand four hundred two, in December, gracious month. Will
all the saints kindly pray to God for the soul of Toussaint Prier?"
Toussaint Prier, a canon of the cathedral in 1402, was the donor of the

When Louis XI of France captured Arras, in 1477, and dispersed the
weavers, Tournai, Brussels, Oudenarde and Enghien took up the work. The
oldest Brussels tapestries known belong to the latter part of the
fifteenth century. Two of these sets were painted by Roger van der
Weyden and celebrated the Justice of Trajan and the Communion of
Herkenbald. Some have tried to prove that other important tapestries
were designed by the great primitives, but Max Rooses assures us the
resemblance to their work comes from the fact that their
characteristics, "careful execution, extreme delicacy of workmanship,
and brilliancy of colour," pervaded every branch of art at that period.

Brussels and Oudenarde held the lead throughout the sixteenth century.
The Bruxellois wove vast historical compositions to decorate the palaces
of kings; the weavers of Oudenarde produced landscapes, "verdures" and
scenes from peasant life for the homes of burghers.

Tapestries are at their best as line drawings; when more complicated
effects are sought "confusion and uncertainty follow." The finest ever
woven were produced during the last half of the fifteenth and the first
half of the sixteenth centuries, when Gothic tapestries gradually ceased
to be made and Renaissance pieces began to take their place. During that
hundred years, when the weavers were most skilful and were still
satisfied with line drawings, many of the finest tapestries combined the
characteristics of both styles.

In the sixteenth century, the weavers had such marvelous skill, however,
that they actually reproduced the shadow effects of Italian designs.
Even such great artists as Raphael and Michael Angelo drew cartoons, and
stories of ten, twenty or even thirty scenes were woven, all showing the
distinctive characters of Renaissance art. They combined breadth of
composition and lively action with the introduction of nude figures and
elaborate landscape and architectural settings. But in trying to copy
painting too closely, they departed from the best traditions of tapestry
technique, and deterioration was sure to follow in time.

After the desolating wars of the sixteenth century, when arts and
industries revived under the Archdukes Albert and Isabella, Brussels
weavers set up their looms again, and "Rubens brought new life into
tapestry manufacture. He supplied the Brussels workshops with four great
series--the History of Decius Mus, destined for some Genoese merchants;
the Triumphs and Types of the Eucharist, ordered by the Infanta Isabella
for the convent of the Clares at Madrid; the History of the Emperor
Constantine, executed for Louis XIII; and the History of Achilles, for
Charles I.... The Triumphs and Types of the Eucharist are the most
powerful allegories ever created to glorify the mysteries of the
Catholic religion."[4]

     [4] Max Rooses.

Jacob Jordaens also designed tapestry cartoons, but the most popular
artist among the weavers at the end of the seventeenth and in the
eighteenth centuries was David Teniers. He did not himself make designs,
but the manufacturers, especially at Oudenarde, borrowed his subjects,
which were drawn largely from peasant and village life.

One reason why we have so few of the really antique tapestries is that
in 1797 the market for them was so dead--owing to the increasing use of
wall-papers and canvases painted in oils--that the French decided it
would be better to burn them for the gold and silver they contained.
Accordingly, "One hundred and ninety were burned. During the French
Revolution, a number of tapestries that bore feudal emblems were also
burned at the foot of the Tree of Liberty." At this time, when they were
not in fashion, many rare old hangings were cut up by the inartistic or
the ignorant and used as rugs and curtains.

But in recent years, we are told, the Brothers Braquenié have set up a
workshop at Malines, where they have produced a fine series for the
Hôtel de Ville in Brussels, called "Les Serments et les Métiers de
Bruxelles." The cartoons for this set were made by Willem Geefs, the

As to the material, there is a great difference. Gothic tapestries are
composed of woolen weft on linen, or woolen on hemp warp, and are often
enriched with gold and silver thread. These are not used today, as they
are considered too expensive. Since the sixteenth century, Brussels,
Gobelins, and Mortlake have used a great deal of silk. In the fifteenth
century fifteen or twenty colours were employed, in the Renaissance
period, twenty or thirty.

"Both high warp and low warp antedated the shuttle. In other words, they
use bobbins that travel only part way across instead of shuttles that
travel all the way across." The high warp loom was also in use before
the treadle. "In the low warp loom the odd threads of the warp are
attached to a treadle worked with the left foot, the even threads of the
warp to a treadle worked with the right foot, thus making possible the
manipulation of the warp with the feet and leaving both hands free to
pass the bobbins. In the high warp loom, that has no treadle, the warps
are manipulated with the left hand while the right hand passes the
bobbins back and forth. The term high warp means that the warp is strung
vertically, low warp horizontally."

Both are woven with the wrong side toward the weaver. "The wrong side in
all real tapestries is just the same as the right side except for
reversal of direction and for the loose threads.... In the high warp
loom, the outline of the design is traced on the warp threads with India
ink from tracing paper, and the coloured cartoon hangs behind the
weaver, where he consults it constantly. In the low warp loom, the
coloured cartoon is usually beneath the warp, and often rolls up with
the tapestry as it is completed."[5] In the eighteenth century, the low
warp loom was considered better than the _haute lisse_, or high warp.

     [5] The description of technique is quoted from
     Hunter's "Tapestries."

Great care has to be taken in dyeing the threads of the weft, which are
much finer than those of the warp. Vegetable dyes, such as cochineal,
madder, indigo, etc., must be used, for permanent colours can never be
obtained with aniline dyes. The old Spanish dyes were considered the
best. In this country, one sometimes gets the fine colours in an old
Mexican serape or a prized Navajo blanket. The wool that is used to mend
old tapestries in the American museums is coloured with dyes made by
Miss Charlotte Pendleton in her workshop near Washington, which I have

The Arras tapestries have a better and more attractive texture than any
others. "Arras tapestries are line drawings formed by the combination of
horizontal ribs with vertical weft threads and hatchings. There are no
diagonal or irregular or floating threads, as in embroideries and
brocades. Nor do any of the warp threads show, as in twills and damasks.
The surface consists entirely of fine weft threads that completely
interlace the coarser warp threads in plain weave (over and under
alternately), and also completely cover them, so that only the ribs mark
their position--one rib for each warp thread. Every Arras tapestry is a
rep fabric, the number of ribs eight to twenty-four to the inch." The
finely woven textures are not always considered the best. "The most
marvelous tapestries of the fifteenth century were comparatively coarse
(from eight to twelve ribs), and of the sixteenth were moderately coarse
(from ten to sixteen)."

Many of the early Gothic tapestries had inscriptions woven at the bottom
or the top, but had no borders. It was not until toward the end of the
fifteenth century that they began to develop these. They first had
narrow verdure edgings, until Raphael introduced compartment borders in
the set of the Gates of the Apostles, the most famous tapestries of the
world. The most noted cartoons in existence are the designs for this
set, in the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington. Renaissance
borders were much wider than the Gothic, and were filled with greens and
flowers. At the end of the seventeenth century the borders took the
form of imitation picture frames.

Gothic verdures are in reality coloured drawings in flat outline of
trees and flowers with birds and animals. Renaissance verdures have more
heavily shaded leaves and look more true to nature.

The majority of Gothic tapestries are anonymous as regards both maker
and designer. With the Renaissance began the custom in Brussels and
other Flemish cities of weaving the mark of the city into the bottom
selvage, and the monogram of the weaver into the side selvage on the
right. This custom was established by a city ordinance of Brussels in
1528. An edict of Charles V made it uniform, in 1544, for the whole of
the Netherlands. After another century, weavers began to sign their full
names or their initials in Roman letters, and monograms were discarded.

When the weavers of Arras took refuge in other countries, after the
capture of that town by Louis XI, they went by thousands to England and
France. In this way the French looms at Gobelins, Beauvais, and Aubusson
were started, and those at Mortlake, in England.

As early as the fourteenth century, there was at least one eminent
master weaver in Paris, Nicolas Bataille, in whose factory part of the
remarkable Apocalypse set of the cathedral of Angers was woven. But even
in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, French tapestries were far
from equaling those of Flanders. In 1667, Colbert "established in the
buildings of the Gobelins the furniture factory of the Crown under the
direction of Charles Lebrun."

The great establishment of "Les Gobelins," by the way, has an
interesting history. Jean and Philibert Gobelin built a dyehouse in the
fifteenth century by the little stream of the Bièvre, in the Faubourg,
whose waters had peculiar qualities that gave special excellence to
their dyes. The family found dyeing so profitable that they were able to
become bankers, and at the beginning of the seventeenth century they
sold the establishment, which, however, still kept their name. Here
Comans and Planche, tapestry weavers from Flanders, opened a factory in
1601. The edict of Henri Quatre by which they were incorporated gave
them important privileges, but also obliged them to train apprentices
and to establish the craft in the provinces.

During the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands, many tapestries were
taken to Spain, where the finest in existence today are to be found.
They may be seen in the churches and draping the balconies over the
streets of a fête day. King Alfonso owns seven miles of gold and silver
thread hangings. But these are only the remnant of what Spanish royalty
formerly possessed. Charles V, Philip II, and many others of the ruling
house were indefatigable collectors. The famous Conquest of Tunis, in
twelve pieces, was woven by Willem de Pannemaker, the most noted of the
master-weavers, for Charles V. The cartoons for this set are in the
Imperial Museum in Vienna and the tapestries in the royal palace in
Madrid. "Many pieces that formerly belonged to the kings of Spain have
been destroyed by fire; others have been worn out by long and frequent
use. For these tapestries did not remain in a fixed place: they were
hung in halls and apartments on festive occasions; they were taken down
and rolled up when they had done service; they were used on journeys to
furnish the lodgings en route; they were packed with the
campaign-baggage to garnish the tents; they decorated the jousting lists
and the streets and squares when the sovereigns made their entries."

Tapestries can also be found in Russia in palaces and museums, for Peter
the Great sent for weavers from Flanders. England, too, was dependent
upon the Flemings, for the noted weaver, Philip de Maecht, came from the
atelier of Comans and Planche to become head of the works at Mortlake.

[Illustration: DIANA TAPESTRY.]

In 1376, the Court of Savoy ordered many tapestries from the great
manufacturer, Nicolas Bataille, but later factories were opened in
Italy. About 1455, Renard de Marncourt, another Flemish weaver, made in
Rome for Pope Nicholas V the marvelous set of the Creation of the World.
There were also tapestry works at Ferrara with prominent Flemings at
their head. Nicholas and Jean Karcher were employed there by Duke
Hercules II. Jean Roost, of Brussels, was head of a factory at Florence,
in which work was continued for over two hundred years. Cardinal
Francisco Barberini, after his visit to France in 1633, when he became
interested in the works of Comans and Planche, started another factory
in Rome. Nicholas Poussin and Pietro de Cortona supplied designs, the
art director was Jean François Romanelli, and the manager Jacopo della

Among our own tapestries, the Diana set of eight pieces came from the
Barberini collection. The cartoons of these were done by du Breuil. This
series possesses remarkable decorative qualities and is of great
historical importance. The panels were woven in Brussels at the close
of the sixteenth or the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the
ateliers of Jacques Geubles and Jean Raes, who were among the most
famous weavers of their time. The mark of Brussels and Brabant is woven
in the bottom galon of every one of the pieces, and the monograms of the
authors, that of Raes in the upper part and that of Geubles in the lower
part, although it is most unusual to find all the panels signed by the
artists collaborating in their production. The original linings of these
tapestries bore the stamped monogram of Cardinal Francisco Barberini and
also that of Cardinal Antonio Barberini. In MSS. XLVIII of Vol. 141,
preserved in the Barberini library, these tapestries are mentioned as
having been "presented by the most Christian King Louis XIII of France
to Cardinal Barberini, Legate to France, 1625."

Cardinal Francisco Barberini, when he visited the Court of France in
1625, went as Legate of his uncle, Pope Urban VIII, to settle upon
terms of peace for Europe. These hangings then became part of the
collection owned by the princely Barberini of Rome, which in time came
to be renowned and was regarded as one of the most splendid in the

The subjects seem to be allegorical representations of the Loves of
Henry of France and Diana of Poictiers, as has been agreed by some of
the most important authorities who have studied them, for the faces in
the tapestries show a distinct resemblance to portraits of the King and
his favourite. Engravings of the heads of Henry and Diana, as can be
seen in the Gazette des Beaux Arts, exhibit striking likenesses to those
on the woven fabric. In the Gazette there is an illustration which shows
the château of Anet, with gardens such as are represented in the
tapestries, with a fountain, and Diana standing with the crescent in her
hair, her bow in her hand and a quiver at her back, wearing a costume
similar in style and character. Montaiglon writes of the château of
Anet, that the altars were destroyed and the statues torn from their
bases and carried off in pieces, as is suggested in one panel which
represents a rushing river sweeping away columns and statues from their
foundations. Mythology teaches that the legendary Diana punished mothers
who deserted their children, and succoured their offspring, as is again
suggested in this same panel of Diana of Poictiers, who did more,
history relates, to bring up the children of the King than did the
Queen. The beautiful Madame d'Estampes and her coterie did everything
in their power to destroy Diana; pasquinades and libelous brochures were
levied against her. The dragon in one panel represents jealousy, spite
and vindictiveness in its flaming eyes, scaly hide and protruding
tongue. Also, in allegorical manner, nothing could better express the
triumph which the King accorded Diana when he "broke her enemies and
humiliated them," than the picture of the King slaying the dragon. The
set is full of interesting detail--there are dogs and hares, nymphs and
satyrs. All the details combine to tell the story, and in one piece the
monarch wears a crown, which emphasizes the royalty of the lover.

Seven of the tapestries were originally acquired from the Princess
Barberini, although inventories suggested that there were eight in the
full series; strangely enough, several years later, the missing one was
discovered by another collector in Amsterdam, but this had had its
border cut off, as would naturally be the case in a stolen tapestry. We
were able to get it, so that now the set is once more complete after
hundreds of years.

The David and Goliath series is also in our possession, and is a
representative set. These tapestries illustrate prominent events in the
story of David and Goliath, and were made in Flanders in the second
half of the sixteenth century. They are in excellent condition, without
repair, and possess borders of delicious character.


This set was presented by Cardinal d'Este, Papal Legate at the Court of
Charles IX of France, to Count Flaminio Mannelli, who was then his
secretary and had filled in various ways honourable offices at the Court
and in the service of the Dowager Queen Catherine de Medici.

A record of the period shows that about 1587 the hangings were brought
to Count Mannelli's palace, in the Marche of Italy, where they remained
until 1898, when we purchased them from the Marquis Pianetti of Jesi,
who had come into possession of the set. The six different panels depict
literally the scenes described in the Bible. The titles are: David
before Saul, the Challenge of Goliath of Gath, the Battle between
Goliath and David, the Beheading of Goliath, the Triumph of David, and
the Madness of Saul.

When we were in Belgium, the home of tapestry, I was surprised to find
comparatively few pieces there. Many more, as I have said, are seen in
Italy and Spain, some in France and England, and a few in America, where
we are beginning to appreciate them.



In the Low Countries, perhaps more than in any other part of Europe, has
the many-sided life of the people revealed itself through the various
forms of artistic expression. Religion, industry, struggles for
independence, the power of the guilds, the splendour of the dukes of
Burgundy, the landscape, the homes, the people themselves, all are found
in Belgian art. They were pictured in the delicate tracery of cloistered
illuminators, carved in wood or stone in the old churches, enshrined
within the wooden panels of ancient triptychs, and woven into the
storied tapestries of hall and castle. They figured in the canvases of
the Renaissance masters, and after the "Dark Ages" of the Spanish
oppression, were revived in a new race of modern painters, who depicted
the life of the young nation. The true greatness, the real charm of
Belgium has lain in her art.

Obviously, the two great periods of Belgian art were the fifteenth and
the seventeenth centuries, but it by no means follows that no other
periods are worthy of our consideration; indeed, we cannot understand
the school of the van Eycks without studying the three centuries
preceding the fifteenth. Before the days of Hubert van Eyck there were
at Bruges masters of whom he learned, and whose style can hardly be
distinguished from his own. A hundred years earlier than the van Eycks
was the great age of architecture, when cathedrals and mighty
cloth-halls rose on Flemish plains, and sculpture, stained glass and
wrought iron were all called for to decorate the wonderful structures.
Still earlier, many a patient monk in his cell traced with loving care
those illuminations that made the beauty of missal and breviary. The van
Eycks and Memling were the lineal descendants of these artists.

Toward the fourteenth century, the exquisite vignettes of the
illuminators displayed marvelous grace and delicacy of execution,
cleverness of design, and great brilliancy of colour. To quote from a
French writer, "In the hands of the miniature painters of Bruges, gold
glistens, it sparkles. Their colours, if they are not more beautiful,
are as beautiful as those of nature. Their flesh tints vie with the
freshness of colour of young girls, just as in their arabesques and in
their frames we think we see currants and strawberries ripening and
breathe the perfume of flowers."

At this time, painters and illuminators were in some sense rivals. They
were enrolled in separate guilds at Bruges. "The Guild of St. Luke
included painters, saddlers, glass-makers and mirror-makers; that of St.
John illuminators, calligraphers, binders and image-painters." Painters
were allowed to use oil-colours, but illuminators were limited to
water-colours. It became the aim of the former to transfer to their
canvases and their wooden panels the same vividness of colouring that
the latter produced upon vellum. Doubtless many artists were at work at
this problem, which was finally solved by Hubert van Eyck.

Another important factor in forming the Flemish school was the influence
of the guilds. In the fourteenth century, the painter was a craftsman
and as rigidly bound by the laws of his guild as any carpenter or mason.
He was apprenticed to a master for perhaps five years, during which he
was taught the secrets of the craft. He learned to choose the wood for
his panel and make it ready for use. He mixed the fine plaster with
which to cover the wood, and the durability of his picture depended on
the care he used in this and the evenness of the coating. For every
implement with which he worked, every colour that entered into his
picture, he must depend upon himself. He must prepare his own oils and
varnishes. If he wished to make a drawing, he often was obliged to work
with the silver-point, and to prepare his paper himself; if he drew in
chalk or charcoal, he had to make his own selection of materials.

After the apprenticeship came the years of wandering, when the young
painter could work for any master he pleased, could travel as far afield
as he chose, and in this way gain experience and a store of valuable
impressions. When he returned to his home, he was admitted to the
painters' guild, provided he could satisfy its officers that he was
competent; if so, he could take his position as a master of the craft.
Even then he was not free from the supervision of the fraternity. His
master's oath bound him to honesty and to do his work "as in the sight
of God." Its officers inspected his materials and his output, and if
either was found to be below the standard he was punished. Every
contract must be fulfilled to the letter, and the guild officers were
the arbiters in case of any dispute. Finally, all his implements were
marked with the sign of the guild.

Pictures of the cities of Flanders in the fifteenth century bear witness
to their artistic splendour. Says an English writer of Bruges at that
time, "The squares were adorned with fountains; its bridges with statues
in bronze; the public buildings and many of the private houses with
statuary and carved work, the beauty of which was heightened and brought
out by gilding and polychrome; the windows were rich with storied glass,
and the walls of the interiors adorned with paintings in distemper, or
hung with gorgeous tapestry." It was in surroundings such as these and
under the stimulus of competition with his brother craftsmen that Hubert
van Eyck made his great discovery of a manner of using oil in painting
large pieces that would make it possible to equal the brilliant colours
of the illuminators. The Flemings kept the secret of the new process so
well that it was not disclosed to Italian artists until toward the end
of the fifteenth century.

But this discovery in technique is not his only claim to renown. His
achievements as a painter were even greater than his skill as a
craftsman. A high authority says that the beauty of the Virgin in the
Adoration of the Lamb "places it in the rank of the Madonnas of
Leonardo da Vinci and of Raphael." This genius of the Middle Ages and
his younger brother have left Belgium in the famous triptych a lofty
composition in which the marvelous technique that has wrought the
colours together till the surface is like enamel is combined with beauty
of landscape and skill in portraiture. In the inscription placed upon it
we read: "Hubert van Eyck, than whom none greater has appeared, began
the work, which Jan his brother, in art the second, brought to

Almost nothing is known of the life of Hubert van Eyck. He was born at
Maaseyck about the year 1366, and lived at Bruges with his brother and
their sister Margaret, who was also a painter. He was made a member of
the painters' guild of Ghent in 1421, the year in which he left the
service of the powerful lord afterward known as Philip the Good. Three
years later, Jodocus Vydts, burgomaster of Ghent, and his wife Isabella
gave him an order for an altar-piece to be placed in their mortuary
chapel in the cathedral. His work was cut short by his death in 1426. It
is impossible to tell how much was done by his hand and how much by his
brother Jan, but there seems good reason to believe that Hubert painted
the central panels in the upper row, and that Jan was the artist of the
Adoration panel below these. Through some strange lack of appreciation
in the custodians of this masterpiece, Brussels and Berlin were able to
purchase the wings, so that those we saw at Ghent were only copies.

Hubert van Eyck's body was laid in the chapel of the Vydts' in the
cathedral of St. Bavon, near his masterpiece, but we are told that his
severed right arm was placed in a reliquary in the cathedral itself. No
doubt it was considered a sacred relic! His epitaph was carved on a
shield, supported by a marble skeleton. The following free translation
of this quaint old Flemish verse was made by William B. Scott:[6]

     [6] "Gems of Modern Belgian Art."

    "Whoe'er thou art who walkest overhead,
    Behold thyself in stone: for I yestreen,
    Was seemly and alert like thee: now dead,
    Nailed up and earthed, and for the last time green;
    The first spring greenness and the last decay
    Are hidden here forever from the day.
    I, Hubert van Eyck, whom all Bruges' folks hailed
    Worthy of lauds, am now with worms engrailed.
    My soul, with many pangs by God constrained,
    Fled in September, when the corn is wained,
    Just fourteen hundred years and twenty-six
    Since Lord Christ did invent the crucifix.
    Lovers of Art, pray for me that I gain
    God's grace, nor find I've painted, lived, in vain."

[Illustration: "L'HOMME À L'OEUILLET."--VAN EYCK.]

Jan van Eyck was courtier as well as artist. As a young man, he was
employed by John of Bavaria, Bishop of Liège, and after the death of his
brother we hear of him as gentleman of the chamber to Philip the Good,
Duke of Burgundy, by whom he was sent on various missions. One of his
journeys was made to Portugal, where he painted the portrait of Princess
Isabella, who afterward became the second wife of the Duke, and in whose
honour the Order of the Golden Fleece was founded. His famous picture
called "L'homme à l'oeuillet," was the portrait of Jean de Roubaix,
who accompanied him to Portugal and arranged the marriage of the
Princess with the great Duke. Jan seems to have possessed the modesty of
true greatness, for on more than one of his pictures is found the motto,
"Als Ikh Kan," As I can. During the latter part of his life he lived at
Bruges, where he died in 1440.

In the midst of his court duties, Jan found time to go on with the great
altar-piece, which he completed in 1432. A few years later, he produced
what is perhaps his finest religious painting next to the Adoration, the
Madonna of the Canon van der Paele. This picture represents the Virgin
and Child enthroned in a stately basilica, probably the cathedral of
St. Donatian at Bruges. In the foreground, on the right stands St.
George, on the left St. Donatian. On the Virgin's left, upon his knees,
is George van der Paele, Canon of St. Donatian, the donor of the

This Virgin and St. Donatian by Jan van Eyck would make one think, says
Fromentin, "that the art of painting had said its last word, and that
from the first hour. And yet, without changing either theme or method,
Memling was going to say something more."

A tradition cherished by the Flemings has it that Hans Memling, in the
year 1477, dragged himself, sick and needy, to the gates of St. John's
Hospital in Bruges, where he was tenderly nursed back to health, and
that, in gratitude, he painted for the hospital the pictures that have
ever since been its pride. This may or may not be true, but a detail in
the Marriage of St. Catherine seems designed to confirm the legend. It
represents a man dropping exhausted in the street, who is then revived
by some cooling drink, and afterward borne to the hospital. We can not
but feel that the artist is giving us here an incident from his personal

The little we know of Memling's life may be told in very few words. In
1450, he painted the portrait of Isabella, Duchess of Burgundy, whose
likeness Jan van Eyck had journeyed to Portugal to make twenty-two years
before. After the death of Philip the Good, no doubt he was court
painter to Charles the Rash and in the year of the latter's defeat and
death at Nancy took refuge in Bruges. Here he married and came into
possession of some property through his wife, he painted his greatest
works, and died in 1495.

In the quaint chapter-room of the old hospital, itself dating from the
thirteenth century, Memling's compositions found an appropriate setting.
Here was the great triptych of the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine, an
altar-piece for the high altar of the church connected with the
hospital; two smaller triptychs, one of the Three Kings, the other a
Pietà; the portrait of Mary Moreel, and a diptych ordered by Martin van
Nieuwenhoven, on which is Memling's finest piece of portraiture, the
likeness of the donor. "The man himself is no very superb specimen of
humanity; he has a bright and pleasant though rather foolish face; but
such as he is Memling has caught the idea of him, and placed him visibly
and knowably on the panel.... Its colouring is unusual and most
beautiful. The textures of the garments are superb, and not only are
the little landscapes seen through the open windows full of the charm
that Memling always threw into his backgrounds, but the charm extends to
the interior of the room, with its stained glass windows, paneled walls,
looking-glass and other pieces of furniture."[7]

     [7] Conway.

But the most interesting work by the great Fleming that the hospital
contains is the world-famed reliquary of St. Ursula. This chest, in
shape like a tiny Gothic chapel, only three feet long and two feet ten
inches high, bears on its sides in six arched panels the legend of St.
Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins. The saint and her maidens are
seen landing at Cologne, arriving at Basle, and received in Rome by the
Sovereign Pontiff himself, who joins them for the return voyage down the
Rhine. They are awaited at Cologne by the cruel Huns, who shoot them
down without mercy, and, last of all, the saintly princess suffers

This story is told in panels only one foot in width. The little pictures
are crowded with figures dressed in the sumptuous costumes of the Court
of Burgundy. Genuine landscapes are introduced in the backgrounds--the
city of Cologne and the scenery along the Rhine are pictured from
sketches which the artist made himself. These tiny paintings have the
brilliant colouring of the van Eycks and the finish of detail of the old
illuminators. They show the tenderness, the fancy, the patient industry
of the master. "Gentle, cordial, affectionate, humble, painstaking as
Memling must have been, his best works are those of the St. Ursula
series type, where his fancy could play about bright and fairy-like
creatures, where no storm nor the memory of a storm need ever come,
where no clouds darkened the sky, and not even the brilliant tones of
sunset gave forecast of a coming night."[8]

     [8] Conway.


Another of the early Flemish masters was Roger van der Weyden. His St.
Luke Painting the Madonna, in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, is
considered one of the masterpieces of that gallery.

As an artist, Roger van der Weyden was the equal of neither the van
Eycks nor Memling, but he was greater as a master. His art combined the
religious symbolism of the Middle Ages with the new naturalism of Jan
van Eyck, and its effect was wide-spread. The Germans made his paintings
their standard, the Italians acknowledged his greatness, and the artists
of the Low Countries all formed their style under his teaching or
strove to imitate his work.

I have never seen a keener and juster analysis of the art of the Flemish
primitives than that given by Conway, in his "Early Flemish Artists,"
from which I quote: "Jan van Eyck was a man of fact, his work is an
attempt to state the uttermost truth about things.... In his pictures,
light and shade, texture, colour and outline have about equal stress
laid upon them. In this respect he was one of the most complete of
artists." Roger van der Weyden "laid chief stress upon outlines,
striving to make them graceful so far as in him lay.... Memling was
formed of milder stuff.... He was a painter of fairy tales, not of
facts.... To lose oneself in a picture of his is to take a pleasant and
healthy rest."

The same critic adds this beautiful characterization of early Flemish
art in general: "The paintings of Flanders were not, and were not
intended to be, popular. Flemish artists did not, like the Italians,
paint for the folk, but for the delight of a small clique of cultured
and solid individuals. They painted as their employers worked, with
energy, honesty and endurance; they cared not for beauty of the more
palpable and less enduring kind, but they cared infinitely for Truth;
for her they laboured in humility, satisfied with the joy of their own
obedience, and then, when they slept and knew not of it, she came and
clothed the children of their industry with her own unfading garments of
loveliness and life."

Between the glorious past of the van Eycks and Memling and the brilliant
future of Rubens and Jordaens, stands Quentin Matsys, the founder of the
Antwerp school, who died in 1530. He was the great master of the
Gothic-Renaissance transition, showing the influence of the Renaissance,
while still clinging to Gothic types. His paintings include religious
subjects and incidents drawn from daily life. His "women of a
goddess-like delicacy with almond eyes and long slim fingers," lived a
mystical life among transparent, glassy columns and carpets with exotic
embroideries. The men have an air of distinction. He often leans as far
toward caricature, however, as he does toward sentimentality, and there
are great contrasts in his work--grimacing, long-nosed, carousing old
men and lovely women. "None understands as well as Matsys how to make
strong splendours of colour shine through a thin veil of mist, or how to
paint the tremulous surface of life so that we see the blood running in
the veins."

From "Master Quentin's" prime until Rubens brought back to Flanders the
results of his studies in Italy was nearly one hundred years--years that
covered the Spanish oppression of the Low Countries under Charles V and
Philip II, years that saw Flanders desolated by the Duke of Alva. But
out of the decay of Flemish art rose Peter Paul Rubens, born in 1577.

John Rubens, the father of the painter, was a lawyer in Antwerp. As he
favoured the Protestants, he found it the safest course, when the Duke
of Alva's reign of terror began, to take refuge with his family across
the border at Cologne. Here he became the legal adviser of Anne of
Saxony, wife of William the Silent, who preferred to reside comfortably
at Cologne while he was off fighting the Spaniards.

The result of this association was a scandal of the most serious nature,
and only the efforts of his forgiving wife and the desire of the house
of Orange to hush up the affair, saved Master Rubens from the penalty of
death, as prescribed by the German law of that day. His sentence was
commuted to imprisonment for life, but after two years of close
confinement he was permitted to live with his family in Siegen, on
condition of giving himself up again whenever summoned. It was during
this time that Peter Paul, "the most Flemish of all the Flemings," was
born at Siegen, on German soil.

After the death of John Rubens, his widow returned with her family to
Antwerp, where the little Peter Paul was sent to a school on the site of
the present Milk Market, until he was thirteen years old. Then, as he
was a bright, handsome boy, the Countess van Lalaing received him as
page into her house, where she held a miniature court. He was in the
service of the Countess only one year, but the training he gained in
that time gave him the courtesy and ease of manners that made him, in
after years, perfectly at home in the presence of princes.

In his boyhood Rubens had shown his love of art by making it his chief
amusement to copy the illustrations in his mother's large family Bible,
and after leaving the Countess van Lalaing, he persuaded his mother to
let him study painting. For four years he was the pupil of Adam van
Noort, and afterward of Otto van Veen, also called Vaenius, after the
fashion of the day. At that time van Veen was the most noted painter in
Antwerp. Two years more of study, and Rubens was admitted into the
Guild of St. Luke, and the following year he assisted his master in
decorating the city for the Joyous Entry of the Archdukes Albert and

The young painter's next step was to seek inspiration in Italy, and in
1600 he went to Venice to study Titian and Veronese. Here he copied old
masters, painted portraits, and attracted the attention of the Duke of
Mantua, who became his patron. In 1603 he was sent to Spain by the Duke,
and took with him many paintings as a present for Philip III. When he
went home to Flanders in 1608, Albert and Isabella made him court
painter in order that they might keep him in Antwerp.

Rubens was twice married. His first wife, Isabella Brant, made his home
happy for seventeen years, and is commemorated in several paintings.
Helena Fourment, whom he married four years after Isabella's death, was
a girl of sixteen who was considered remarkably beautiful, and if we may
judge by the use he made of her as a model, this opinion of her was
fully shared by her husband. Besides the numerous portraits of her--in
every possible position, sitting, standing or walking, handsomely
dressed or nearly nude, alone or with her husband or children, in her
own person or as Bathsheba, Dido or Andromeda--she appears in such
large compositions as the Garden of Love and the Judgment of Paris.

The paintings of Rubens have always been the special pride of Antwerp.
The Elevation of the Cross and the Descent from the Cross were the
treasures of the cathedral. The first was painted in 1610, soon after
his return from Italy, and the second but little later. There are six
known variants of the Descent from the Cross. The one in the cathedral
is a wonderful composition, brilliant in its conception and marvelously
drawn. The Elevation is by some critics considered finer than its
companion picture. The Christ à la Paille, the "Coup de Lance," the
Adoration of the Kings, and the Last Communion of St. Francis are all in
the Antwerp Museum.

Fromentin, writing of Rubens in 1876, thus spoke of Malines and works of
the great artist that were treasured there: "There are only two things
that have outlived its past splendour, some extremely costly sanctuaries
and the pictures by Rubens. These pictures are the celebrated triptych
of the Magi, in St. John's, and the no less celebrated triptych of the
Miraculous Draught of Fishes, which belongs to the Church of Notre

In this connection it is interesting to read how, when the Germans were
shelling Malines for the second time, early last September, a Red Cross
worker saved the Adoration of the Magi. The church had not yet suffered
from the German shells. "This large work, composed of two side panels
and a center piece, being on panel, was too heavy for two men to handle.
I was first compelled to break into the church, for everybody had fled
from the stricken town, and after many endeavours to find help,
commandeered the only police officer available, two fine gendarmes and a
locksmith. These men, with the utmost good will, helped us to rig a
tackle over the famous picture, and, after two or three hours' work, we
were rejoiced to see our exertions crowned with success, for the three
parts of the picture were down, without the slightest scratch. We
commandeered from a village close by a dray and two horses, lashed the
central piece of the picture between soft pads of hay and blankets, and
sent it under the care of one of our men into safety at ----. The two
side panels I took away myself in my own car."

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, which had been removed from the church
of Notre Dame, and was found in a corridor of a public gymnasium,
lying bare against the wall and without any protection whatever, was
saved in the same way. The shrine of St. Rombaut, "a very costly work of
silver and gold, about three feet high and five feet long," was rescued
before the destruction of the cathedral, and sent to a secret place of
safety. It is a "valuable specimen of antique goldsmith's work." Many
altar furnishings in gold and silver, beautiful laces, and a number of
paintings, among them two more that are attributed to Rubens, were also
included among the articles saved.


Rubens was a prolific artist, and his pictures are to be found in all
the great galleries of Europe, besides a small number in American
private houses and museums. An interesting example of these is the
portrait of a man and his wife, in the collection of Mrs. Robert D.
Evans of Boston, now in the Museum of Fine Arts.

Rubens had all the industry, honesty, and brilliancy of colour of the
great Flemings. He had, besides, greatness of conception and breadth of
composition. A distinguished English painter calls him "perhaps the
greatest master in the mechanical part of the art, the best workman with
his tools, that ever exercised a pencil." His paintings glow with
vitality; they depict natural life in landscapes, in animals, in human
beings. Many of his works are on large canvases and depict gross and
sensual subjects. His Madonnas are often unsatisfying; his figures of
Christ seldom bear the impress of the Godhead; with one or two notable
exceptions the life of the spirit is lacking in his work. One of these
exceptions is the Last Communion of St. Francis, which was at last
accounts in the Antwerp Museum. The dying saint in the foreground has
raised himself on his knees, and is even stretching toward the
officiating priest on the left. His weak body is supported by a monk on
the right. His face is radiant with spiritual exaltation and an
earnestness of purpose that would hold even death in check until the
holy wafer has passed his lips. In this picture Rubens has pierced the
veil and revealed the things that cannot be known by the senses.
Fromentin says of it: "When one has made a prolonged study of this
unequalled work in which Rubens is transfigured, one can no longer look
at anything, neither any person, nor other paintings, not even Rubens
himself; for today one must leave the Museum."

But Rubens was the head of a school of painting--the later Flemish
school. His studio was thronged with young artists, who were assistants
as well as students. With his keenness of observation directed to a line
of business, the master quickly discovered what each pupil could do
best, and set him at that part of a composition. In this way Rubens was
enabled to produce the immense number of pictures that bear his
name--thirteen hundred have been catalogued. One student would paint
nothing but landscapes, another all the animals, while the teacher put
in the most important parts and added the finishing touches to the
whole. There was no deceit in this method of working, for the amount of
Rubens' own work a given piece contained depended upon the price his
clients were willing to pay. The design was always his, but those who
paid the lowest price got nothing but the design from his hand, while
his wealthy patrons who could afford the maximum received pieces that
were entirely his own handiwork, and between the two extremes there were
all grades of collaboration.

Jacob Jordaens was one of the most famous of Rubens' pupils. It is said
that "they are of the same family and the same temperament; and Rubens
stands between Jordaens and van Dyck. Rubens is gold, van Dyck silver,
and Jordaens blood and fire." The latter was an indefatigable painter
and a rapid worker, often completing a portrait at a single sitting. He
covered a wide range of subjects, religious, allegorical, landscapes,
portraits and animals, and he succeeded so well that "there are Jordaens
attributed to Rubens and Rubens to Jordaens."

Anthony van Dyck was another pupil of the great master, and the
aristocrat of the famous seventeenth century Flemings. He was only a boy
among boys, quite undistinguished, until one day chancing to rub against
a painting of his teacher's on which the paint was still wet, he
retouched it so skilfully that it turned out better than before. In time
he became so formidable a rival, in spite of his youth, that Rubens sent
him off to Italy to study. He came back in four years, greater than
ever. A few years later, Rubens contrived to have him called to England
as court painter. During the time that he remained in Flanders he
produced several religious pictures, among them the Raising of the
Cross, at Courtrai, and a Crucifixion, which, before the war, was in the
Cardinal's palace at Malines. The same Red Cross worker who rescued the
Rubens from destruction at Malines also brought away this composition,
of which he says, that it had been cut out of its frame the day before,
rolled up, and stowed away in the cellar. But van Dyck's best work
was done in portraiture, and in this he was "nearly the equal of


Van Dyck so quickly became a great favourite of Charles I that he was
knighted within three months after going to England. He painted the King
and Queen many times. The portrait of Charles I in the Louvre was done
at the height of his skill. He loved to paint kings and nobles, in
velvet and silken garments trimmed with rare old lace. For ten years he
was court painter in England, and so many of his portraits are still in
the great houses there that a family portrait by van Dyck is said to be
"tantamount in England to a patent of nobility." After the execution of
Charles, he went to Flanders and to Paris seeking commissions, but his
popularity had waned, and he returned to England broken in health and
spirit, and died there in 1641. His body rests in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Van Dyck painted cavaliers, and he himself belonged to that type. His
work is so individual that it is easily recognized. A charming
adventurer, a popular courtier, he was a favourite of kings, was fêted
in foreign countries. At the close of his life, he is called "a man in
ruins, who until his last hour has the good fortune, and this is the
most extraordinary thing about him, to preserve his greatness when he

The annals of the seventeenth century are filled with the names of a
host of artists of more or less renown, followers of Rubens and van
Dyck. But "for the Flemish school, the eighteenth century is a long
entr'acte, during which the stage, so nobly occupied of old, is sad and

The modern Belgian school of art started in Antwerp after the Revolution
of 1830. At first it corresponded to the romantic movement in France, of
which Delaroche was one of the leaders, but with this difference, that
the Belgians chose their subjects for the most part from the age-long
battle for freedom waged by their country. The most distinguished of
these "romantic" Belgian artists were Louis Galliat and Edouard Biefve.

The "historic" and "archaic" schools of these modern painters included
Leys and his followers, whose work is interesting because they sought to
reproduce the characteristics of van Eyck and Memling. The frescos in
the Antwerp town hall by Leys, illustrating the charters and the
privileges of that city in olden times, are called by Max Rooses,
"monumental creations by a great master of the art of painting." Henri
de Braekeleer had the art of investing the most prosaic subjects with
interest. He painted the ordinary things of daily life, a wine-shop, an
old man at his printing, in a way that glorified them.

The insane artist, Wiertz, thought himself the second Rubens, and
produced a number of huge canvases. The Wiertz Museum had an astonishing
collection of the works of this artist--paintings on every imaginable
theme, ranging from "wild nightmares of the brain" to such impressive
compositions as the Contest for the Body of Patroclus, after the manner
of Rubens, and the Triumph of Christ, a sublime work showing great
originality and wonderful power of execution.

Much remarkably good restoration of paintings has been done by modern
Belgian artists. An amusing story has come to me of an artist who was
employed to touch up a large painting in an old church. When he
presented his bill the committee in charge refused payment unless the
details were specified. Whereupon he presented the items as follows:

To correcting the ten commandments                 $5.12

To embellishing Pontius Pilate and putting new ribbons
    on his hat                                         3.02

To putting new tail on rooster of St. Peter and
    mending his comb                                          2.20

To repluming and gilding left wing of the Guardian
    Angel                                                     5.18

To washing the servant of the High Priest and
    putting carmine on his cheeks                             5.02

To renewing Heaven, adjusting the Stars and cleaning
    up the moon                                               7.14

To touching up Purgatory and restoring Lost Souls             3.06

To brightening up the flames of Hell and putting new
    tail on the Devil, mending his left hoof and doing
    several odd jobs for the damned                           7.17

To rebordering the robes of Herod and adjusting his
    wig                                                       4.00

To taking the spots off the son of Tobias                     1.30

To cleaning Balaam's Ass and putting new shoe on
    him                                                       1.70

To putting rings in Sarah's ears                              1.71

To putting new stone in David's sling and enlarging
    the head of Goliath and extending Saul's legs             6.13

To decorating Noah's Ark and putting head on Shem             4.31

To mending the shirt of the Prodigal Son and cleaning
    his ear                                                   3.39


Belgium has lost none of her interest in artistic expression. At the
Academy in Antwerp, there were about two thousand art students before
the war, and about sixteen thousand in all Belgium. Perhaps the most
noted living painters at that time were Stevens and Wauters, and Madame
Ronner, who was famous for her pictures of cats. The studio of
Blanc-Grin, in Brussels, was the center of present-day painters when we
were there.

Belgium has never been so famous for its sculptors as for its painters.
Among the moderns, Jef Lambeaux took high rank, but Constantin Meunier,
of Liège, was perhaps the greatest. "He was _par excellence_," says Max
Rooses, "the sculptor of the workman: first of the Hainault coal-miner,
then of the worker of all trades and countries.... He finally arrived at
investing his models with truly classic beauty. They became the heroes
of a grand drama, now commanding the flames of tall furnaces and
measuring their strength with the most terrible of the elements, now
cutting the corn and tying it in sheaves, defying the almost equally
murderous heat of the sun."

In a notice of the Royal Academy Exhibition in London, in May of the
present year, we read, "Almost the only work universally praised in the
press reviews of the opening day is by a Belgian sculptor, Egide
Rombeaux. It is a statue of more than life size, entitled 'Premier
Morning.'" One critic says, that outside the charmed circle where Rodin
reigns supreme, no sculpture more remarkable in originality and poetry
of conception has been seen of late years in a public exhibition.
Belgian art has not lost its vitality. Will it not emerge from its
baptism of fire with the consecration of a noble purpose to express the
honour, the patriotism, the self-sacrifice, that have glorified the



Although for many, perhaps most, of my readers, Belgian literature is
summed up in the one word, Maeterlinck, it is nevertheless true that the
writers of this little country have been no unworthy spokesmen for so
sturdy and independent a race. Even when the nation lay stupefied in the
relentless grasp of Spain, among the exiles who sought refuge in Holland
was at least one poet, Vondel, who is remembered with pride today.

From the earliest days of Belgian fable the name of the chronicler,
Lucius de Tongres, has come down to us. Like many another monk, he wrote
in his humble cell the annals of the warring tribes. We think of the
Nibelungen Lied as the especial property of Germany, but "The epic of
the Franks belongs to our provinces," says the Belgian writer, Potvin,
"and the Siegfried of the Nibelungen is called the _hero of the Low

Later, when troubadour and trouvère sang of love and war from Provence
to Normandy, there were minstrels also in the castles of Flanders and
Brabant. Jean Bodel of Arras, in his "Chansons des Saxons," sang of
resistance to the power of Charlemagne, and it was the trouvères of the
Walloon country who first borrowed from the Britons the cycle of the
_Table Ronde_. The greatest poet of the reign of Philip of Alsace, at
the end of the twelfth century, was Chrestien de Troyes, a native of
Brabant, whose writings were imitated in England and Germany.

The "Chambers of Rhetoric," formed in the sixteenth century to provide
entertainment for the people, exerted so great an influence in promoting
a taste for art and literature among Belgians in general that our own
Motley could find nothing with which to compare it except the power of
the press in the nineteenth century. These chambers were really
theatrical guilds, composed almost entirely of artisans, and they not
only produced plays and recited original poetry but also arranged
pageants and musical festivals. In 1456, the Adoration of the Lamb was
reproduced as a tableau vivant by the chamber of rhetoric at Ghent. The
"Seven Joys of Mary" was given at Brussels for seven years, beginning in
1444, and was the best acted mystery of that time. Jean Ruysbroeck was
called the "Father of Flemish Prose," while Jean le Bel (a Walloon)
started a school of writers which rivaled that of France.

The treatment these rhetoricians received from the Spanish sovereigns is
sufficient proof that they were the mouthpiece of the people and voiced
their aspirations for freedom in both church and state--Charles V was
their persecutor, Philip II their executioner.

When the long struggle with Spain ended in the subjugation of the
Spanish Netherlands and art and literature were stifled in the southern
provinces of the Low Countries, Vondel, the Fleming, produced in his
safe retreat in Holland plays which are worthy of notice today. About
the same time the poet who is known as "le père des Flamands, le Vieux
Cats," had many followers, and his works were so popular that they were
called "The Household Bible."

Another exile, Jacques van Zèvecote, a native of Ghent, who also
emigrated to Holland during the Spanish oppression, was a great poet.
His hatred of Spain found expression in these vigorous lines:--

    "The snow will cease to be cold,
    The summer deprived of the rays
    Of the sun, the clouds will be
    Immovable, the huge sand-hills on the shore
    Leveled, the fire will cease to burn,
    Before you will find good faith
    In the bosom of a Spaniard."

Under Napoleon the chambers of rhetoric were revived. In 1809, the
_concours_ of Ypres celebrated a "hero of the country." In 1810, Alost
called on Belgian poets to sing "The Glory of the Belgians." A young
poet named Lesbroussart won the prize in a fine poem full of the old
national spirit of the race. Jenneval, the author of the "Brabançonne,"
the national anthem, was killed in a battle between the Dutch and the
Belgians outside Antwerp, in the revolution of 1830.

About 1844 Abbe David, and Willems, a free thinker, started literary
societies, and later followed Henri Conscience and Ledeganck. Ledeganck
was called the Flemish Byron, and another poet, van Beers of Antwerp,
was often compared to Shelley. To the early years of free Belgium
belonged also Charles de Coster, whom Verhaeren calls "the father of
Belgian literature."

Henri Conscience, the Walter Scott of Flanders, was born in 1812, when
Belgium was under the rule of France. His father was a Frenchman, his
mother a Fleming. He first wrote in French, but in 1830 he said, "If
ever I gain the power to write, I shall throw myself head over ears into
Flemish literature." In 1830 he volunteered as a soldier in the army of
Belgian patriots.

His first historical romance, "Het Wonder-Jaar," written in Flemish, is
said to have been "the foundation-stone on which arose the new Flemish
school of literature." His two finest historical novels, "The Lion of
Flanders" and "The Peasants' War," describe the revolt of the Flemings
against French despotism, for "to raise Flanders was to him a holy aim."
The net profit to the author from the first of these books was six

The most artistic work that Conscience ever did, however, is found in
his tales of Flemish peasant life, one of which, "'Rikke-Tikke-Tak,'"
says William Sharp, "has not only been rendered into every European
tongue, but has been paraphrased to such an extent that variants of it
occur, in each instance as an indigenous folk-tale, in every land, from
Great Britain in the west to India and even China in the east."
Conscience says of himself, "I write my books to be read by the
people.... I have sketched the Flemish peasant as he appeared to me ...
when, hungry and sick, I enjoyed hospitality and the tenderest care
among them."

"After a European success ranking only after that of Scott, Balzac,
Dumas, Hugo, and Hans Andersen, Henri Conscience is still," wrote
William Sharp in 1896, thirteen years after the great Fleming's death,
"a name of European repute; is still, in his own country, held in the
highest honour and affection."

The Walloon country provided the historians, of whom Vanderkindère was
one of the ablest. Charles Potvin, born at Mons in 1818, was a Walloon
journalist and prolific writer on a variety of subjects. He held the
position of professor of the history of literature at the Royal Museum
of Industry in Brussels, was director of the _Revue de Belgique_, which
he founded, and was curator of the Wiertz Museum in Brussels. He was
poet, writer on political subjects, historian of art and literature,
critic and essayist; "a power in Belgian politics and literature, a
leader of democrats and free-thinkers." In his long life--he died in
1902--he produced a great number of works, among which were "La
Belgique," a poem, the "History of Civilization in Belgium," the
"History of Literature in Belgium," and a work on "Belgian

Camille Lemonnier, of Liège, wrote three or four novels before 1880. He
was a brilliant writer, who "touched modern society at almost every
point" in his books, but will perhaps be remembered chiefly as the
_doyen_ of the little band of "_la jeune Belgique_."

The students at Louvain in 1880, with their rival magazines, really laid
"the foundation of a literature which is in many respects the most
remarkable of contemporary Europe." At the head stand Maeterlinck and
Verhaeren. Edmond Glesener, a hero of Liège, is well known for his

In 1887, with the publication of the periodical, _La Parnasse de la
Jeune Belgique_, began a renaissance of poetry, which became distinctly
modern Belgian in character. Maurice Warlemont (Max Waller) was the
generally recognized founder of this paper. Verhaeren and other noted
contributors also wrote for the _Pléiade_, which was a famous Parisian
periodical at that time.

Maeterlinck is the best known of these modern Belgian writers, for many
of his plays have been well translated into English, and some have been
produced with great success in this country. He wrote at first in
Flemish, but soon changed to French. I admire his symbolic and
allegorical language, so mysterious and full of charm. It is said of his
earlier poems that "they require a key and are not literature but
algebra." Maeterlinck "has the happy faculty of making people think they

Apropos of this mysticism of Maeterlinck's I may give the bon mot of a
witty Frenchman in regard to the Jeune Ecole Belge. He said that their
ambition was to write obscurely, and if the first writing seemed easy to
understand, they would scratch it out, and try again. At the second
attempt, if no one could understand it but the writer--that was still
too simple. If the public could not understand the third, nor the writer
himself, it was quite perfect.

Maurice Maeterlinck was born on August 29, 1862. As a boy, he lived at
Oostacker, in Flanders, and was sent to the College of Sainte Barbe, a
Jesuit school, where he studied for seven years. Among his friends in
this college was Jean Grégoire le Roi, who later became a well-known
poet. Even in those days Maeterlinck contributed to a literary review,
and like Verhaeren, he studied for the bar. At the age of twenty-four he
went to Paris, where he continued his friendship with le Roi.
Maeterlinck had a thin, harsh voice, which was much against him as a
lawyer, and he soon gave up that profession and turned his entire
attention to literature. He is short, stocky, Flemish in appearance, but
is a dreamer, shy, solitary, and moody.


In 1889, his first book of poems, "Serres Chaudes," was published. After
this he returned to Oostacker, and when he was not writing tended his
bees, which have always interested him.

In reading his earlier poems, I find they are principally concerned with
souls, hothouses, and hospitals. Some of them have a strange prophetic
note, and are also good examples of his style.[9]

     [9] Translated by Edward Thomas.

This is an extract from "The Soul":

    "And lo, it seems I am with my mother,
    Crossing a field of battle.
    They are burying a brother-in-arms at noon,
    While the sentinels are snatching a meal."

The same strain is found in this bit from "The Hospital":

    "All the lovely green rushes of the banks are in flames
    And a boat full of wounded men is tossing in the moonlight!
    All the king's daughters are out in a boat in the storm!
    And the princesses are dying in a field of hemlock!"

Here is another passage. Does it not make one wonder what its meaning
can be?

    "Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?
    I have been changed to a hound with one red ear;
    I have been in the path of stones and the wood of thorns,
    For somebody hid hatred, and hope, and desire, and fear
    Under my feet that they follow you night and day."

From 1889 to 1896 Maeterlinck wrote many poems and eight plays. His
first play, "La Princesse Maleine," was a masterpiece, and is said to
have made an "epoch in the history of the stage." The author was named
the Belgian Shakespeare. Many of his plays, however, have a fairy-like
and unreal quality, so they have been termed "bloodless" or unhealthy. A
short synopsis of "La Princesse Maleine" will give an idea of the plot.

The scene opens at the betrothal banquet of the young Princess Maleine.
The fathers of the two young people quarrel over the arrangements. The
betrothal is broken, and war is declared between their countries. In the
attack on the castle, in the next act, the mother and father of the
Princess are killed, and she disappears with her nurse into the forest.
While escaping, she hears that her lover is to wed another. She decides
then that she will try to obtain a position as her rival's attendant and
learn the truth.

As she is very beautiful, she succeeds in arranging it, and is taken to
her rival's castle. The young Prince discovers Maleine's identity, and
realizes that, after all, she is the only one he really loves. The
mother of the spurned princess determines to poison Maleine, but the
physician does not make the potion deadly, and as she sickens slowly,
the wicked queen, tired of waiting for her death, twists a cord of hair
around Maleine's neck and kills her. The scene of the last act is the
cemetery near the castle where Maleine's funeral is going on. The lover
stabs the Queen in revenge for the girl's murder, and then kills
himself. The animals in the play all appear. The black hound is there,
bats and moles gather about; swans are seen in the castle moat, and
peacocks among the cypresses; owls perch on the crosses, and sheep graze
near the tombstone.

Among Maeterlinck's books of essays the best known are "The Bee," "The
Unknown Guest," and "Our Eternity." In one of his essays he writes that
he loves the idea of silence so much that the words of the people in his
plays "often seem no more than swallows flying about a deep and still
lake, whose surface they ruffle seldom and but for a moment."

Maeterlinck has continued writing poems and essays as well as plays. The
two dramas called "Palleas" and "Melisande" were put on the stage in
1893, and were greatly praised. In 1902 appeared "Le Temple Enseveli."
"Le Trésor des Humbles" was dedicated to Georgette Le Blanc, an actress,
who helped him write it. Later they were married and settled in Paris.
Here he lived a quiet life, writing constantly, and was seen by only a
few of his friends.

"Monna Vanna" was his first play in which the action was assigned to a
definite period. It was supposed to take place at the end of the
fifteenth century. A few years ago, it was well given in this country,
Mary Garden impersonating the heroine. Her rendering of the part was
widely discussed. "Sister Beatrice" was also produced in America, and
"Mary Magdalene" has been translated into English, as well as "The
Bluebird." The last named was beautifully given in New York, and was
superbly staged and very spectacular. It was so artistic, so original
and mysterious, and unlike anything that one had ever seen before, you
knew at once that it was the work of Maeterlinck. People swarmed to see
it, people went to hear it read, and people took it home to read.

Maeterlinck is now over fifty years old, and is at the height of his
popularity. He spends the winter at Katchema, near Grasse, in the south
of France, the summers at the ancient Benedictine Abbey of St.
Wandrille. During the war he has been lecturing in behalf of his native

I quote from an address made by him in Milan: "It is not for me to
recall here the facts which hurled Belgium into the abyss of glorious
distress where she now struggles. She has been punished, as no nation
ever was punished, for doing her duty as no nation ever did it. She has
saved the world, in the full knowledge that she could not be saved.

"She saved the world by throwing herself across the path of the
barbarian horde, by allowing herself to be trampled to death in order to
give the champions of justice the necessary time, not to succour
her--she was aware that she could not be succoured in time--but to
assemble troops enough to free Latin civilization from the greatest
danger with which it has ever been threatened.

"The spectacle of an entire people, great and humble, rich and poor,
savants and unlettered, sacrificing themselves deliberately for
something which is invisible--that, I declare, has never been seen
before, and I say it without fear that any one can contradict me by
searching through the history of mankind. They did what had never been
done before, and it is to be hoped, for the good of mankind, that no
nation may ever be called upon again to do it."

Among other well-known Belgian authors Eugène Demolder may be mentioned.
In his historical novel, "Le Jardinier de la Pompadour," he has made the
eighteenth century live again in pages "vibrant with prismatic colours."
A charming characteristic of this book is the exquisite pictures of
flowers and woods. The critic Gilbert quotes a page, of which he says,
"It opens the story like a whiff of perfumes, for it symbolizes the
charm and the freshness of rural France in flower."

The works of Leopold Courouble are greatly enjoyed. He represents the
humour of Brabançon fiction. As the old painters of Flanders gave
expression to Flemish gaiety in their immortal canvases, so has
Courouble concentrated in "Les Fiançailles de Joseph Kaekebroeck" the
whole spirit of a race.

Le Vicomte de Spoelberch de Lovenjoul is noted as a critic and essayist,
and has had five of his works crowned by the French Academy. Henri
Pirenne, author of "Histoire de la Belgique," is at the head of the list
of Belgian historians today. (There have been a number of patriotic
books written foreshadowing this war. Balzac wrote "France et Belgique,"
and it has been said that Balzac was the inspiration of the modern
writers of Belgium.)

Grégoire le Roi, Maeterlinck's friend, is described by Bithell as "the
poet of retrospection"--"the hermit bowed down by silver hair, bending
at eventide over the embers of the past, visited by weird guests draped
with legend." It is said "the weft of his verse is torn by translation,
it cannot be grasped, it is wafted through shadows."

Charles van Lerberghe wrote his play of the new school, "Les Flaireurs,"
in 1889, before Maeterlinck had published anything, but his work
resembles the latter's somewhat in style. He was born in 1862, of a
Flemish father and a Walloon mother, which resulted in a sort of dual
personality. Van Lerberghe was "a man for whom modern life had no more
existence than for a mediæval recluse," and he passed his happiest years
in an old-world village in the Ardennes. He died in 1907, having
published besides the play already mentioned, only three little books of
poetry, "Entrevisions," "La Chanson d'Eve," and "Pan"--small but
classic. Maeterlinck speaks of his verse as having a sort of "lyric
silence, a quality of sound such as we have not heard in our French
poetry." The early poems of Rossetti are suggested by his work.

"If poetry is music van Lerberghe is a poet. The charm of his verses is
unique," writes Bithell. Are not these stanzas on "Rain" exquisite?

    "The rain, my sister dear,
    The summer rain, warm and clear,
    Gently flees, gently flies,
    Through the moist atmosphere.

    "Her collar of white pearls
    Has come undone in the skies.
    Blackbirds, sing with all your might,
    Dance, magpies!
    Among the branches downward pressed,
    Dance, flowers, dance, every nest,
    All that comes from the skies is blest."

"Fernand Severin, who was lecturer in French literature at the
University of Ghent, is a poet of great charm. His diction is apparently
that of Racine, but in substance he is essentially modern." The
following lines, from the translation by Bithell, will give an idea of
the grace and beauty of his style:

    "Her sweet voice was a music in mine ear;
    And in the perfume of the atmosphere
    Which, in that eve, her shadowy presence shed,
    'Sister of mystery,' trembling I said,
    'Too like an angel to be what you seem,
    Go not away too soon, beloved dream!'"

Albert Mockel is a fine musician and an excellent critic, as well as a
good poet, a combination which is very rare. He is learned, subtle and
brilliant. "Chantefable un peu Naïve" and "Clartés" contain musical
notations of rhythms.

I give here part of one of his poems called

             THE CHANDELIER

    "Jewels, ribbons, naked necks,
    And the living bouquet that the corsage decks;
    Women, undulating the soft melody
    Of gestures languishing, surrendering--
    And the vain, scattered patter of swift words--
    Silken vestures floating, faces bright,
    Furtive converse, gliding glances, futile kiss
    Of eyes that flitting round alight like birds,
    And flee, and come again coquettishly;
    Laughter, and lying ... and all flying away
    To the strains that spin the frivolous swarm around."

I also give an extract from his "Song of Running Water," that is quite

    "O forest! O sweet forest, thou invitest me to rest
    And linger in thy shade with moss and shavegrass dressed,
    Imprisoning me in swoon of soft caresses
    That o'er me droop thy dense and leafy tresses."

"Verhaeren is the triumph of the Belgian race, the greatest of modern
poets," writes Stefan Zweig, who has translated many of his works.
Verhaeren is much admired by the Germans and Austrians, but is not so
well known in this country, as few of his books have been translated
into English. As Rubens with his brush depicted carousals and excesses,
so did Verhaeren depict the wildness and madness of youth with his
clever pen.

Emile Verhaeren was born in Flanders at St. Amand on the Scheldt, the
twenty-first of May, 1855. His parents were considered well-to-do and
owned a house and garden of their own on the edge of the town,
overlooking the yellow cornfields and the wide river. It was here
Emile's boyhood was spent, watching the peasants sow and reap, and the
white sails of the boats slowly drifting down to the great ocean. He was
blue-eyed and golden-haired in those days. The people loved him then,
and they love him now. As a boy he was sent to the Jesuit College of
Sainte Barbe, in Ghent, and it was hoped that he might in time join the
order. There he began writing verses, and there too he met the poet,
Georges Rodenbach, and Maeterlinck and Charles van Lerberghe, all of
whom later became famous. Emile refused to become a priest and he did
not wish to enter his uncle's workshop, so when his courses were
finished at Sainte Barbe, he was sent to Louvain to study law. His
student days were wild in the extreme.

[Illustration: EMILE VERHAEREN.]

In 1881 he went to Brussels to practice, but he was not a success as a
lawyer. Here he met artists and authors, and like many poets became
eccentric in his dress. "Les Flamandes" is the name of his first book.
When it was published his conservative parents were scandalized and the
critics were very severe, but all had to admit the primitive vitality
and savage strength of his work. "Les Moines" is his second book. These
sonnets describe the monks and are unlike his other poems.

As Verhaeren was unbridled in his studies as well as his follies, he had
a severe nervous breakdown. While convalescing he wrote "Les Soirs, Les
Débâcles, Les Flambeaux Noirs," which are extraordinary descriptions of
his physical and mental sensations during his illness.

After he recovered he married and traveled in Europe and in England.
Then for a time he gave lectures at the Université Libre in Brussels.

"Les Villes Tentaculaires," which describes the monster city, is called
magnificent. "Les Aubes" and the "Campagnes Hallucinées" were published
at the same time, and "La Foule" and "Vers la Mer" in the book entitled
"Les Visages de la Vie" are also fine.

Among Verhaeren's plays, "Le Cloître" is taken from his book of poems,
called "Les Moines." It is peculiar in having no woman in the cast, but
it was well given and proved successful. "Les Aubes" and "Hélène de
Sparte" were others of his plays.

The three following poems by this author are marvelous pieces of
description and thoroughly characteristic of Belgium:


    "When the wind sulks, and the dune dries,
    The old salts with uneasy eyes
    Hour after hour peer at the skies.

    "All are silent; their hands turning,
      A brown juice from their lips they wipe;
      Never a sound save, in their pipe,
    The dry tobacco burning.

    "That storm the almanac announces,
      Where is it? They are puzzled.
    The sea has smoothed her flounces.
      Winter is muzzled.

    "The cute ones shake their pate,
      And cross their arms, and puff,
    But mate by mate they wait,
    And think the squall is late,
      But coming sure enough.

    "With fingers slow, sedate,
      Their finished pipe they fill;
    Pursuing, every salt,
    Without a minute's halt,
      The same idea still.

    "A boat sails up the bay,
    As tranquil as the day;
    Its keel a long net trails,
    Covered with glittering scales.

    "Out come the men: What ho?
      When will the tempest come?
      With pipe in mouth, still dumb?
    With bare foot on sabot,
    The salts wait in a row.

    "Here they lounge about,
    Where all year long the stout
      Fishers' dames
      Sell, from their wooden frames,
    Herrings and anchovies,
    And by each stall a stove is,
      To warm them with its flames.

    "Here they spit together,
    Spying out the weather.
      Here they yawn and doze;
    Backs bent with many a squall,
      Rubbing it in rows,
    Grease the wall.

    "And though the almanac
      Is wrong about the squall,
    The old salts lean their back
      Against the wall,
    And wait in rows together,
    Watching the sea and the weather."


    "You melancholy fogs of winter roll
    Your pestilential sorrow o'er my soul,
    And swathe my heart with your long winding sheet,
    And drench the livid leaves beneath my feet,
    While far away upon the heaven's bounds,
    Under the sleeping plain's wet wadding, sounds
    A tired, lamenting angelus that dies
    With faint, frail echoes in the empty skies,
    So lonely, poor, and timid that a rook,
    Hid in a hollow archstone's dripping nook,
    Hearing it sob, awakens and replies,
    Sickening the woeful hush with ghastly cries,
    Then suddenly grows silent, in the dread,
    That in the belfry tower the bell is dead."


    "In smoky inns whose loft is reached by ladders,
      And with a grimy ceiling splashed by shocks
    Of hanging hams, black puddings, onions, bladders,
      Rosaries of stuffed game, capons, geese, and cocks,
    Around a groaning table sit the gluttons
      Before the bleeding viands stuck with forks,
    Already loosening their waistcoat buttons,
      With wet mouths when from flagons leap the corks--
    Teniers, and Brackenburgh, and Brauwer, shaken
      With listening to Jan Steen's uproarious wit,
    Holding their bellies dithering with bacon,
      Wiping their chins, watching the hissing spit.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Men, women, children, all stuffed full to bursting;
      Appetites ravening, and instincts rife,
    Furies of stomach, and of throats athirsting,
      Debauchery, explosion of rich life,
    In which these master gluttons, never sated,
      Too genuine for insipidities,
    Pitching their easels lustily, created
    Between two drinking bouts a masterpiece."

Even amid the ruins of their country, Belgian writers, like the Belgian
people, are indomitable. Verhaeren, from his retreat in London, sends
out words that are a pæan of victory, and the bugle note of "Chantons,
Belges, chantons!" by another author, is a call to great deeds in the



    "O little towns, obscure and quaint,
      Writ on the map in script so faint,
    Today in types how large, how red,
      On battle scroll your titles spread!"

Brussels is ideally located for the motorist. From it both the Flemish
and the Walloon districts could easily be reached. To be sure, the towns
were paved with the famous Belgian blocks, but the roads outside the
towns were in excellent condition. One of our favourite trips was to
Antwerp, where we went often, either to meet people landing from
steamers from America or to look up boxes shipped us from home.

A bit aside from the direct route between the two cities, but well worth
going out of one's way to see, was Louvain. Baedeker speaks of it as "a
dull place with 42,000 inhabitants," but we found it delightful. It was
a pretty old town, with its richly fretted Hôtel de Ville, the finest
in Belgium, its university and library, its impressive church in the
center of the city, and the innumerable other gray old churches with
their long sloping roofs. The streets were narrow, picturesque and
rather dirty. They were lined with the high walls and closed windows of
convent after convent, and there were huge clusters of monastic
buildings on the hills about, many of these newly built and modern. The
whole town seethed with black-robed priests, brown-robed, bare-footed
monks, and white-coped nuns.

In the Middle Ages Louvain had four times its present population; its
once famous university had diminished in the same proportion. There was
a time when no man might hold public office in the Austrian Netherlands
who did not have a degree from the University of Louvain.

Of the two thousand cloth factories which made the city a hive of
industry during the thirteen hundreds but little sign remained when we
were there. During the fifteenth century it was the largest city west of
the Alps. The walls were built at the period of greatest prosperity, and
much of the land which they inclosed had been turned into gardens,
showing how the population had decreased. It was said that however much
outward change there had been, however, in the Abbey of the White Canons
the spirit of "religious mediævalism" was still to be found, untouched
by modern thought.

Southey describes the town hall at Louvain as an "architectural bijou
... like a thing of ivory or filigree designed for a lady's dressing
table." This building seems to have passed through the war unscathed.
But the famous library of the university, which was one of the most
noted in Europe, containing over a hundred thousand rare manuscripts,
was completely destroyed.

Not far from Brussels, and on the direct road to Antwerp, is Vilvorde, a
small town, chiefly noted as the scene of the martyrdom of Tyndale, the
famous Englishman who attempted the translation of the Bible, and for
this was imprisoned and later burned at the stake by the Church. His
last words were, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes!" It seems as if
his prayer must have been heard, because within a year--in 1537--the
King ordered the publication of the Bible and its use in all the
churches of the land.

Halfway between Brussels and Antwerp is Malines, perhaps better known to
us by its Dutch name of Mechlin. Every house had its maker of lace;
they could be seen on pleasant days sitting on low stools out of doors
among the flowers, singing as they worked.

The tower of the beautiful old cathedral, which was erected in 1312, was
intended to be the highest in all Christendom, but was never completed.
Its carillon, however, was second only to that of Bruges. The church was
dedicated to St. Rombaut, who was supposed to have built it. The story
was that in paying his workmen he never took from his pockets more than
ten _cens_ at a time, and the men, thinking he must have a large number
of the coins upon his person, murdered him for the booty. To their
disappointment they found he had just one coin, for the saint, each time
he needed money, had worked a miracle similar to that of Jesus and the
fishes! A discrepancy of some three or four hundred years between the
time of the good saint's life and the building of the church is a trifle
confusing. This cathedral has been destroyed.

We set out for a direct trip to Antwerp one morning at eight, and
reached there after a fine run of an hour and a half through the fair
green country. All along the way the towns were gaily decorated and
beflagged for a holiday. The city itself was alive with traffic, while
the river and the canals were crowded with moving boats.

Just opposite the station was the famous Zoo. A band concert was going
on, and crowds sat drinking tea or beer beneath the trees, listening to
the music, which was interrupted every once in a while by the raucous
cry of some wild creature in its cage. All the animals were killed
before the siege of the city in October.

A service was being held in the great cathedral. There was lovely music,
and a solemn light fell on Rubens' great masterpiece. The church was two
hundred and fifty years in building, and is the largest in the Low
Countries. Fortunately we can still use the present tense in speaking of
Antwerp Cathedral, for it survived both the bombardment and the
conflagration that ensued.

Antwerp came into prominence only after Bruges, Ghent and Ypres entered
upon their long decline. The architectural gem of the city was the
Plantyn-Moretus Museum, once the printing works of Christopher Plantyn
and his son-in-law Moretus, who did such notable work in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries. The rooms of the old house had been restored
quite in the old style, so that you felt the quiet, peaceful atmosphere
of other days.


The history of Antwerp goes back some thirteen hundred years, but it was
not until the seventeenth century that it gained the right to be called
the richest and most prosperous city in Europe. After that it, too, like
so many of its sister cities, fell asleep; but these days were of brief
duration, for in the middle of the nineteenth century the Belgian
Government bought the right to use the Scheldt, and it awoke to new
life. When the war broke out it was the greatest port on the continent,
and surpassed only by London and New York in the world.

Its social life was a striking contrast to that of Brussels, for it was
strongly Flemish in thought and feeling, as well as in speech, while the
national capital was like a French city.

Antwerp was of great strategic importance, for the mouth of the Scheldt
is opposite the mouth of the Thames. Napoleon realized this. "Antwerp
might be made a pistol directed at the heart of England," he said.
Indeed, before it fell into the hands of the Germans a military expert
prophesied that within two months of its fall the English would be suing
for peace. The city had been made the chief arsenal of Belgium, and one
of the strongest fortresses in Europe. At the beginning of the attack
the suburbs, which were particularly beautiful, were destroyed and
covered with pits and wire entanglements by the defenders. Tens of
millions of dollars' worth of property was laid waste, and nothing
gained, for the city was bombarded from a distance and no infantry
attacks were made.

One summer day we started out in the motor for Ostend. Out across the
flat country, through forests and fields and villages, we passed through
Termonde where, a few centuries before, they had opened the sluices and
driven back the army of Louis XIV by flooding the country.

Ghent was our first stopping place. In the Cathedral of St. Bavon hung
the Adoration of the Lamb, by the van Eycks--the most celebrated of
Belgium's pictures. A few buildings still remained which recalled the
former glory of the burghers of Ghent. Among them was the gray pile of
the château of the counts of Flanders, a splendid specimen of the
residences of the great lords in the magnificent Burgundian days. It was
built for the purpose of overawing the headstrong citizens, and had on
one side the moated river and on the other the square which saw so many
tragedies of the Inquisition.

It is a picturesque city with its network of canals. Its Béguinage, a
religious home for older women with little means, is a small world in
itself. It consists of a group of houses of different sizes, each with
its own little garden in front, shut in by high brick walls. Through the
community flows a stream where the women do their washing from a boat,
spreading the linen to dry in an open, park-like space reserved for that
use. The women who live there belong to a religious order, but are bound
by no vows and are free to leave if they choose. Their special mission
is to nurse the sick, whom they care for either in their own homes, or
in the Béguinage. Because of its many gardens Ghent was often called the
City of Flowers. Maeterlinck said of it, "It is the soul of Flanders, at
once venerable and young. In its streets the past and present elbow each
other." This may be due to the fact that while it is an ancient city, it
had before the war experienced a return of its former prosperity, so
that it was, in comparison with Bruges, for instance, quite lively and
up-to-date. Its great canals gave it access to the sea and to other
cities, and its various industries were thriving. The story of Ghent is
the usual tumultuous chronicle of Flemish towns. The weavers who early
made their city famous were an independent lot, not easily governed
against their will. When not fighting outsiders they were usually
struggling for more rights and privileges for themselves. During the
Middle Ages Ghent's great leader, van Artevelde, was treated as an equal
by Edward III of England. The belfry was the symbol of their freedom,
and it served as a watch-tower--a necessity in a country where there are
no hills--and to give alarm at the approach of an enemy. On the great
bell, Roland, is the inscription: "My name is Roland. When I toll there
is fire. When I ring there is victory in Flanders." They tell you now
how, shortly after the Germans entered Belgium, some one tried to ring
the mighty bell and discovered that it was cracked.

We found the old town of Bruges, which lies between Ghent and Ostend,
more attractive than we had expected. Indeed it was perhaps the most
interesting town in Belgium, and the most picturesque. One doesn't
easily forget the squares with their handsome façades, the ancient
Béguinage with its tottering old women, or the lovely Lac d'Amour, which
was once a harbour, with its pretty border of flowers and flotilla of
white swans. I remember the walk through the little street of the "Blind
Donkey," below the gilded bridge, to the town hall and the
richly-fretted law court, into the square where the exquisite Chapel
of the Holy Blood was tucked away in a corner. It dates from 1150, when
it was built to enshrine some drops of the "_Saint Sang_" brought,
according to the old legend, from the Holy Land by a count of Flanders.

[Illustration: LAC D'AMOUR, BRUGES.]

People call Bruges the Venice of the North, on account of its many
picturesque canals, but here are trees everywhere, and the houses are of
a wholly different style. It is very charming, really the most
fascinating town in Belgium, with its mediæval buildings and its people,
who seemed to have a quaintness all their own. The old women in caps,
sitting in their doorways making lace, looked as if they had just
stepped out of an art gallery.

Bruges gets its name from the Dutch word for the many bridges which
cross the canals in every direction. These canals connect it with Ghent
and other inland cities and were once important highways of commerce. In
those days Bruges had a harbour that was large enough to hold the whole
French fleet, but this has long since been filled in by silt from the

The town was so sleepy and quiet, I found it hard to realize that it had
once been one of the wealthiest, busiest cities in Europe, the
commercial center of the whole continent. The famous Belfry of Bruges
was originally built of wood, nearly a thousand years ago, but near the
end of the thirteenth century it was replaced by the present tower. Like
that of Ghent, it stood the townsfolk in good stead as a watch-tower
from which they might see the approach of their warlike and envious
neighbours. When Bruges was not at war with them, she was usually
occupied in repelling attacks from foreign invaders.

It seems strange that in spite of her battles, not only her commerce but
her intellectual life flourished and grew stronger. At one time
merchants from seventeen countries lived there, which must have given
the city a very cosmopolitan air. Laces, tapestries and woolen cloths
were bartered for the treasures of the East and South and North. Art and
letters gave it its chief renown, however, for Bruges was the home of
Memling, and of the van Eycks. This was during the Golden Age of the
city, in the reign of Duke Philip the Good, who was himself a patron of
art while his wife was keenly interested in literature. It was for her
that William Caxton, living at that time in Bruges, made the translation
of his first book, which he later printed. Glorious old manuscripts were
still to be seen when we were there. In his book, "Some Old Flemish
Towns," George Wharton Edwards describes his climb into the top of the
belfry--an adventure which we did not undertake. After treading many
flights of stone steps he reached at last "a leather-covered door and
entered a room floored with plates of lead, and filled with iron rods,
pulleys, and ropes.... Faint, clear, sweetly coming from afar, one hears
the music of the bells subdued, soft, like harmony from an æolian. But
this is from the lower chamber. Very different will be the impression of
the sounds if one is among the bells when the hour or the quarter is
struck. Here, among the hanging bells is a sort of chamber, where lives
a being who seems the very double of Caliban, so hairy and wild-looking
is he. He is the watchman, and is forced to pull upon a rope every seven
minutes before the bells sound. I shall not forget the fright he gave me
when fancying myself alone in the tower I was examining the carillon,
and he thrust his huge red, hairy face between the two bells under which
I groped, and stood there staring while I froze with horror, while the
bells row upon row, above and about us, clashed and clanged and boomed,
swinging as if they would the next minute fall upon us and crush us.
Thus he stood in this turmoil of din and roar and finally when it ended
he demanded--in the mousiest squeak of a voice imaginable, a small fee
for beer money." These bell-ringers have appealed to other imaginations,
too. Poe might well have had in mind the Belfry in Bruges when he wrote:

    "And the people--ah, the people,
    They that dwell up in the steeple
      All alone,
    And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
      In that muffled undertone,
    Feel a glory in so rolling
      On the human heart a stone--
    They are neither man nor woman--
    They are neither brute nor human--
      They are Ghouls:
    And their king it is who tolls."

In Ostend we found a watering place which during the last generation has
more than doubled its population and become wealthy and important. This
change was due to the efforts of the old King, who saw the possibilities
of his sandy sea-coast if pleasure seekers could be induced to come in
sufficient numbers. His dream was to build a road from one end of the
shore to the other which should be one long, continuous summer resort.
At tremendous cost of money and labour strong sea-walls were built to
protect the shifting dunes, and sections of the road as well. Hotels and
casinos and villas sprang up all along the shore, among them the villa
of the old King himself.

In the time of Charlemagne Ostend was a fishing village, but only
yesterday it was the Continental ideal of what a bathing place should
be. The Digue, that famous walk by the sea, was thronged with an endless
variety of men and women, of all nationalities and styles of raiment.
Thousands sat and watched them drift by. The heavy bathing machines--a
city in themselves--went lumbering into the water, all so gay in pink
and green and blue paint. Absurd looking old people were wading and
children played everywhere in the sand. It was indeed a passing show.

The weather was warm when we were there, and we saw the place at its
best. Each night we dined inside the glassed-in terrace of the hotel,
with gay people all about us and the crowds passing up and down,
outside. Then we went over to the Casino, a vast amphitheater where the
orchestra played and throngs sat listening till the dancing began at
half after ten.

In sad contrast to these lively scenes was that a few months later, just
before the Kaiser's troops entered the town. A mournful procession of
refugees moving to the quay, men with stolid faces guiding little
dog-carts piled high with luggage, anxious women and weary children
laden with bundles--all seeking the promised safety of England.

Every year there was held at Ostend a curious ceremony which drew
excursionists from all corners of the country to witness. This was the
benediction of the sea, which was performed by the more intelligent
Belgians with all the decorum of a religious rite. The ceremony went
back apparently at least to the early sixteenth century, for it is
recorded that after a certain inundation of the coast the fishermen
joined with ship-owners in contributing the sum of 271 francs to the
Church, which was instructed to use it for the benefit of the fish in
the North Sea. This was no doubt the beginning of the procession to the

Running inland from Ostend one comes before long to Roulers, where there
was a training convent for missionaries. We found the town an active,
commercial place, and drove over rattling streets to the outskirts and
our destination, the Convent of the Missionary Sisters of St. Augustine.

The Mother Superior had invited us to visit them because six of the
little sisters were about to start for the Philippines, some to go to a
convent in the Bontoc country among the headhunters, where L. had
followed the trail on horseback with the Governor and the Secretary of
War, a short time before. We wanted to show appreciation of their
undertaking, for they have always spread good reports of the United
States' government of the islands.

The buildings were neither large nor extensive, for the sisterhood is
limited and the order comparatively new. There was an American
flag--rather a queer one, for the little sisters had made it
themselves--hanging with the Belgian flag above the door, and inside
there were decorations of flags and paper flowers and streamers, all
quite sweet and pathetic.

Mother Ursula, a nice looking woman, met us and conducted us into a room
where the forty little sisters were huddled together, peering at us out
of their headdresses, with the liveliest curiosity. It was natural
enough that they should be curious, too, for during their two years of
instruction they were never allowed to go out, and saw very few laymen.
At any rate, their eyes never left us all the time we were with them.
They seemed very docile and obedient, and were pretty and young, but
they were rather ignorant, although they were taught a little English
besides the native dialect of the savage places where they were to go,
and a little music. They played and sang for us, so badly but so
touchingly and anxiously--the Old Kentucky Home, in a way to make one
cry, and the Star Spangled Banner--both in English.

Their days were filled with offices of the Church, with a little
recreation in the small garden. When an extra holiday hour was allowed
them for the time we were there, the first thing they did was to go in
procession to the garden and fall upon their knees before the crucified
Christ. That was evidently their idea of a holiday hour.

The Flemish roads themselves were always interesting, even here where
the country was so level. We passed an endless succession of wonderfully
tilled fields in which the peasants were working with their primitive
implements, and little red-roofed stone farmhouses with innumerable
tow-headed children playing about them. I shall never forget how lovely
were the apple trees about the farmhouses and in the orchards. They all
had white blossoms, and while we missed the more varied pinks and mauves
which we see at home, the effect was charming. Every now and then we
would catch a glimpse of a château in its park, usually just beyond a
lagoon and with a moat about it. We traversed the streets of the little
towns, so quiet in spite of the factories that sometimes girdled
them, and wondered how the people lived behind the quaint façades of
their ancient houses. We stopped at the little village of Herzèle, on
the road to Courtrai, to see its ruined tower, once the property of
Count Egmont, in which he sustained a siege for six months. It was quite
picturesque, built of slabs of rough gray stone. Its history reminded us
of the great Flemish primitives, for its first owner was Jean de
Roubaix, the friend of Jan van Eyck.


On another occasion we made a circuit of the now historic places in the
neighbourhood of the Yser River. To be sure, they were historic enough
then, but so remote from the lines of tourist travel that few realized
what treasures they contained. Now, when nearly everything has been
swept away, hordes of people are waiting eagerly for a chance to see
even the ruins.

At that time Dixmude had a population of about a thousand, although it
was built for thirty thousand. Its deserted Grande Place was large
enough to hold every man, woman and child in the place--and if they kept
quiet I doubt if you would have noticed them! In the church was one of
the finest altar screens in Europe. Because of repeated bombardments
Dixmude is now completely off the map--church and all. I wonder what is
left of the ancient windmill on its grassy hillock overlooking the town;
it had been there since the Middle Ages.

Nearer the mouth of the Yser was Nieuport, the "new port" made when the
harbour of Lombaertzyde across the river filled with sand during a
terrific storm in the twelfth century. Part of the way the road along
the embankment ran just over the sea, and the rest of the time behind
the dunes. It was a quaint old town with some really fine Gothic
buildings, hidden by its sheltering mounds of sand from the hotels and
villas of the beach, which is called Nieuport-Bains to distinguish the
resort from its moribund neighbour.

This is far from being Nieuport's first experience of war. It was
destroyed in 1383, after withstanding nine sieges. A hundred years later
it was successfully defended against the French, the women and even the
children fighting side by side with the men. It was destroyed again in
the seventeen hundreds--three times, in fact. Whether it will rise
again, the world will wait to see. A brave little town among its
gray-green sand dunes, with its ancient lighthouse and its empty,
echoing square.

A few miles west along the coast was Furnes, whose history begins
in the Dark Ages and finishes--in 1914. It was quite of a piece with the
other dead little towns of the Yser country, so far as one could see,
but distinguished from them all by its strange celebration, the
Procession of Penance.

[Illustration: _Sand Dunes, Nieuport_]

This was held every year on the last Sunday in July, and was one of the
last remaining Christian mysteries. The procession represented the life
of Jesus. It is supposed to have been instituted by that Count of
Flanders who was also King of Jerusalem, for the purpose of carrying
about the streets of Furnes a splinter from the Cross, which he had
brought back from the Holy Land.

For a while other mysteries were added, but it finally began to
degenerate until by the seventeenth century it had become a sort of
burlesque. A brotherhood was founded to restore it to its primitive
form, but a new motive entered into it when two soldiers profaned some
concentrated wafers and had to do penance in public. In this manner the
modern penitential procession originated.

The procession formed within the church of Sainte Walburge. Outside, the
horses of the Roman soldiers pranced about while Mary sat on an ass
waiting for the flight to Egypt. Then slowly forth from the church came
the penitents, robed and cowled in brown, their faces masked, dragging
after them the carts bearing the stable of Bethlehem, the Holy
Sepulcher, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. Following them came many
rosy-cheeked girls veiled in white.

As the long lines of the procession unfolded themselves before the
spectator there was a general impression of a variegated river of gold,
purple and blue. First came chariots representing Old Testament scenes,
followed by the scourges--War, Pestilence and Famine, a prophetic trio.
Then appeared St. John, the Hermits and the Shepherds, and the Stable,
which was preceded by an angel and bore Mary and Joseph seated inside.

When, after various scenes from the story of the Passion, Jesus passed
by, dragging the cross, with the soldiers and executioners following
behind, a tense silence fell upon the crowd of onlookers. Not a sound
was heard, save here and there the low muttering of the men, women and
children kneeling on the pavement, praying over their rosaries. At every
window along the route were lighted candles. It was no uncommon sight to
see some poor old woman, carried away by her religious fervour, throw
coins in front of the cross. This was indeed one of the characteristic
incidents of the Furnes festival.

Following this came the penitents, marching in close ranks, torches in
hand and weighed down by the heavy crosses that they dragged along. The
men's faces were hidden by their masks and hoods, the women's by their
veils. All were barefooted.

Every position in the procession was sought for as eagerly as if it had
been a public office. Some of the principal parts were hereditary in
certain families. They say that the festival as given the last time was
unchanged from its original form, centuries ago, thanks to the care of
"La Sodalité," the brotherhood having it in charge.

Ypres we saved for the last. Poor Ypres! Remains of its ancient ramparts
still were to be seen, and moats with lilies floating on their dark
waters, and the vast Grande Place, with the glorious Cloth Hall
occupying one side of the huge square, rivaled only by that of Brussels.
Through the crooked streets of the town, with their sagging, gabled
houses whose upper stories often projected over the tiny sidewalks, one
caught now and then a glimpse of a quiet courtyard beyond a vaulted

In the quotation which follows, Pierre Loti refers to the "little
children" in Ypres. Until recently their presence there in what
eventually became a deserted city was not explained, nor indeed
specially noticed. But it has been discovered that when the last train
left the interior of Belgium, supposedly for France, just in front of
the advancing Germans, frantic mothers pushed their children into the
already crowded cars, hoping that some one would care for them at their
destination. This proved to be Ypres, where for months the motherless
little ones wandered about the deserted streets, living in cellars and
abandoned houses, the older ones caring for the younger, all living on
what they could pick up in the streets. At last accounts they were being
brought together by the French Government and cared for in a convent
until the war is over, when every effort will be made to find their

Pierre Loti has written of Ypres as he saw it not long ago, and it gives
us a vivid glimpse of the city in war times. "The squares around these
tall ruins are filled with soldiers who stand still, or who move slowly
about in silent little groups a trifle solemnly, as though awaiting
something of which every one knows, but about which no one speaks. There
are also poorly dressed women with haggard faces, and little
children; but the lowly civil population is completely swallowed up in
the mass of rough uniforms, almost all soiled and earthy, having
evidently witnessed many a long battle. The graceful khaki yellow
uniform of the English and the slender black regimentals of the Belgians
mingle with the sky blue military cloaks of our French soldiers, who
make up the majority. All this taken together results in an almost
neutral shade, and two or three red cloaks of Arab chieftains form a
sharp and unexpected contrast to this universal monotony of a gloomy
winter evening. The thousands of soldiers glance instinctively at these
ruins, as they take their melancholy evening strolls, but usually they
remain at a distance, leaving both hall and church in their majestic
isolation.... And now the night is almost here, the true night which
will put an end to every trace of life. The crowd of soldiers retires
gradually into the streets, already dark, but which surely will not be
lighted. Far away a bugle is calling them to their evening meal, in the
houses or the barracks where they sleep insecurely.... Now the
silhouettes of the cathedral and the great belfry are all that are
pictured against the sky--like the gesture of a shattered arm now turned
into stone. As the night gradually closes in on you under the weight of
its clouds, you recall with increasing vividness the mournful
surroundings in the midst of which Ypres is now lost, the vast,
tenantless plain, now almost black, the mutilated roads, over which none
would know how to flee, the fields flooded with water or blanketed with
snow, the lines of trenches, where, alas! our soldiers are cold and






It was a fine night in the year 54 B.C., the sky clear, the air calm,
when a boat--a sort of raft of basket work covered with ox hides--was
slowly following the ebb of the Scheldt. A voice was heard from the
boat, a woman's voice, soft and gentle.

"Yes, Atuix, for thee have I passed the threshold of my father's
dwelling. I have quitted the deep forests of Gaul, my native country;
for thee have I left all, because of my love for thee, Atuix, and thy
beautiful harp which sleeps silently by thy side."

Another voice was heard: "Oh, Frega, since the day that thine eyes
looked into mine, my harp has forgotten its sounds and my soul no longer
knows any of the songs whispered by Ogmius, whom I worshiped in the
forests--the god of the bards, he who is always surrounded by men bound
by their ears to chains of gold and amber which issue from his mouth."

The boat continued to descend with the tide. Suddenly the waves were
troubled and foaming as if some water monster was rising to their
surface. A breathing, a stifled murmuring, was heard, like unto the
autumn wind rushing through the branches of an old, decayed forest; the
bubbling of the waters came nearer, and the breathing grew stronger.
Then by the pale rays of the moon's light, rising above the silvery
clouds, Atuix and Frega beheld with terror, approaching them and
swelling the waves in his rapid course, a colossal Giant.

The waters of the river reached up to his broad chest, and formed around
him a white and sparkling belt of foam. From his formidable face flowed
a thick beard, and his head was covered with hair like that of a horse,
rough and black. He looked like those isolated peaks which are sometimes
seen on the borders of the ocean, with their frowning crests from which
the long, trailing grass hangs dripping in the waves. The boat suddenly
stopped, and cracked under the hand of the giant. A terrible roaring
burst from his hollow chest, and these words were uttered in a voice of

"Ah! ah! my passengers of the night!--you think that the eyes of Antigon
are closed to allow you to pass in the dark! Where are my three oxen to
satisfy my hunger this evening?"

Frega clung trembling to Atuix who silently drew forth his long blade.

The giant continued, "If you wish to speak to me, then swell out your
feeble voices, my dwarfs."

"Mercy upon us, if thou art the god of this river," replied Atuix, "and
if thou art not a god, then let a poor bard of Ogmius pass unmolested."

"O terrible giant, let us pass in the name of the great Hesus of
Teutates, and of all the gods."

"Oh, thou dost jest, I think," said the giant in a ferocious tone. "I
laugh at Hesus, seest thou? and at all thy gods!--and if thou hast seen
them, is their stature no higher than yours, fine race of weaklings, of
whom I could trample a whole army under my feet? Ah! thy gods, I should
long ere this have taken them from their heaven for my evening's
amusement on the lonely shore, or to make a repast of, if they were
anything more than vain smoke!"

"Who, then, art thou," said Atuix, "thou who laughest at the gods?"

"Who am I?--Where is Antigon? Ah! thou wouldst dissemble with
Antigon!--Yes, thou forgettest the tribute of oxen thou owest me for
passing on my river--thou didst think, favoured by the darkness, to
deceive me, and now thou wouldst use thy childish tricks! Ah! Ah!" And
the giant covered Atuix with his powerful hand before he could move a

Frega, who had remained motionless with terror, threw herself on her
knees in the boat. "Mercy, mercy upon Atuix," she exclaimed. "Oh! mercy!
what harm can our passing this river do to thee, we feeble and without
any evil intention, he loving me and I loving him? Mercy! Ah, heavens!
is there, then, no pity in thy soul?"

The giant interrupted with a terrible sneer: "Oh! my soul, sayst thou!
My soul! Where hast thou learnt that I have a soul? Who has ever seen a
soul? Oh, I tell thee truly that there are neither souls nor gods,
neither mind, nor anything but the body, and hunger!"

As he ended the giant pressed the hand of Atuix between his two iron
fingers, the hand fell into the boat with the glaive it grasped. A
terrible cry was heard accompanied by a ferocious laugh. The giant
picked up the bloody hand and threw it into the river. Then, just as he
was about to seize Frega, who had dropped senseless, Atuix freed from
the frightful claws which pressed him, with the hand which was left him,
picked up the fallen sword and plunged it to the hilt in the giant's
arm. A howl of pain was repeated by the surrounding echoes.

The moon was just rising brilliant and pure from her bed of clouds, and
her rays played on the waves, which were scarcely ruffled by the light
breeze. The boat no longer detained floated adrift. A violent shock
aroused Frega! She rose painfully on her knees and saw at some distance
from her a horrible sight. The furious giant was crushing the body of
Atuix between his hands. Frega dragged herself to the edge of the boat,
her eyes fixed, her face ashy pale, she with difficulty stretched out
her neck, tried to advance farther, as if under some invisible
attraction; an instant she gazed, leaned forward, her eyes tearless, not
a sigh from her bosom; then she loosened her hold and rolled over into
the river.

A year after this night Cæsar had put an end to Gaulish liberty. The
strength, the courage and the heroic resistance of this great people
whose ancestors had in one of their daring wanderings over Europe
encamped on the ruins of Rome, was now crushed under the fortune and
genius of the conqueror. By the glare of vast conflagrations, Belgium,
the perpetual focus of revolt against oppression, was traversed by three
Roman armies, and bridges thrown over the Scheldt opened the passage to
the country of the Menapians. One day a detached company of the legion
of the vanguard followed the banks of the river, guided, it is said, by
a mysterious being. Twice the sun had sunk to rest without their
returning. German horsemen sent on their track towards the middle of the
night were stopped at the sight of a strange spectacle. Raging flames
agitated by the wind were devouring the foundations of a tower which had
protected a castle of colossal proportions. The ground was lit by the
glare of the fire and strewn with the dead bodies of the Roman soldiers.
In the midst of them, on a mound of the dead, was stretched motionless,
covered with wounds, pierced all over by darts, the enormous body of a
giant. From one of his huge arms, from which the hand was severed, ran
on the ground a rivulet of black blood. Over his head bent a warrior.
After some moments of suspense the eyes of the giant opened. The warrior
instantly raised himself, parting his long, flowing hair from off his
pale and beautiful face. Then his eyes suddenly flashed with
extraordinary brightness--he approached near to the monster's ear,
shouting out these words:--

"Antigon! Antigon! I must call loudly, is it not true?--so that thine
ear may catch the sound? Well, now listen to me, Antigon! Oh! thou art
not quite dead, thou canst yet understand and remember! A year has
elapsed since--truly, truly, thy wounds are ghastly and bleeding and
sweet to look upon!--Yes, it was on a summer night, two lovers floated
together on the river. Oh! thy den was not as bright as this night--Two
lovers thou knowest!--two lovers who only spoke of love, their hearts
filled with gentle thoughts. Look, look, how well one sees one's shadow
here in thy blood.--One of the two lovers was a bard. Oh! oh! thy dying
eyes flash! Thou didst kill him, and the other--But where are thy
terrible hands, Antigon? The other, that feeble woman--Thou hearest me?
She lives to avenge him!"

A shudder ran through the giant's body, a frightful rattle burst from
his chest; his teeth chattered like the clashing of swords, his eyes
rolled once more in their bloody orbits, and then closed forever. He was
dead. Frega knelt on the ground and prayed. Upon that spot rose Antwerp.
Now Antwerp is the Antwerpen of the ancient Flemish language, which
still preserves its original strength and richness in its Saxon
garb--Antwerpen, in which word the chroniclers find Hand and Werpen, to
throw, in remembrance of the giant Antigon and the hands which he threw
into the Scheldt.



When you approach the old Flemish city, built upon the banks of the
Scheldt, in one of the finest situations of Europe, the first object
which attracts the attention of the traveler is the great spire of the
Cathedral. This "Heaven-directed" spire is one of the loftiest and
finest in the world. It is a masterpiece of pyramidal construction,
delighting the vision not more by its vast height than by its exquisite
proportions. It is surmounted by a cross of a size corresponding with
the edifice itself. The Antwerpians are justly proud of their antique
cathedral, which occupies the first rank among the monuments of Europe;
if time and space permitted I would give you a sketch of its beauties,
but many others before me have described its elegant marble statuary,
chapels, confessionals, altars, choirs, and above all the
chef-d'oeuvre of the immortal Rubens. Before the grand entrance, which
so plainly shows the imprint of time, observe this blue marble stone,
inlaid with several small pieces of brass, scattered promiscuously and
seeming to form a mysterious design, which irresistibly excites one's
curiosity. This monument marks the historical and fatal spot where the
event occurred which I am about to relate.


The 22d of October, 1520, was a day of fêtes and rejoicing in all the
cities of Flanders, for on that day a Fleming, Charles V, was crowned at
Aix-la-Chapelle. The rich and powerful city of Antwerp, whose merchants
were opulent as princes, displayed all its luxury and splendour to
honour its new Cæsar. The day commenced with prayers in all the churches
and finished with national games of every description upon the public
squares, and processions of artisans preceded by the banners of their
several professions. The streets resounded with songs and repeated cries
of "Vive l'Empereur Charles!" and as the night approached the night
became more dense and noisy, for before the Hôtel de Ville immense casks
were placed, which poured forth floods of wine and beer that helped to
increase the enthusiasm of the citizens of the good city of Antwerp.
But above all sounded the glorious peals of the silver chimes from the
old cathedral, as if it wished to add its voice in a hymn of praise to
the young Emperor whose reign commenced under such auspicious

There were nevertheless in the city many sad hearts, as upon all such
occasions there are many who cannot participate. At the window of one of
the largest but poorest lodging houses of the Kamerstraet, known by the
sign of a large Red Lion, stood a young man whose desponding and
sorrowful air contrasted strongly with the joyful bands that passed
under his window. It was evident that he took no part in the general
rejoicing. The room in which he was, although showing that scrupulous
Flemish neatness, presented an appearance of extreme poverty. A
miserable pine bedstead, curtains of blue linen, four old chairs, and an
old oak table comprised the furniture of the room. The whitewashed walls
were devoid of ornament, except the image of the Virgin, before which
burned a small wax candle. Upon the bed reclined a woman whose pale, wan
face, deep-sunk eyes, livid lips, and forehead covered with premature
wrinkles (she being still young) wore the marks of serious physical and
mental suffering. The silence which reigned in the room was broken by
the invalid.

"Yvon, my son," said she, "come to me; but what do I see, tears?"

"Alas, Mother, how can I keep them back? I cannot help you; the fever
has so weakened me that I am unable to work. Hardly can I lift a hammer.
I could not bear the heat of the forge. I am as weak as a child."

"My poor child, the fever has paralyzed your strength as well as mine,
but the will of God be done."

"Amen," responded the son. "It is hard nevertheless to struggle against
sickness and poverty. If tomorrow we do not satisfy the demands of the
landlord we shall be turned into the street. If I were the only one to

"My son, I have seen your father and your three brothers die with this
merciless fever, and with them perished all my happiness. But in the
midst of my suffering I have always said, God has given them to us and
taken them from us. Blessed be his name. And in this submission to his
will I have found my only consolation."

The young man sighed but made no reply. At this moment a tumultuous
noise of steps arose from the street. It was a procession. The
corporations of tanners and joiners were passing.

"Now come the painters with the image of St. Luc, and now, oh! I see the
blacksmiths and lockmakers carrying the banner of St. Eloi."

Poor Yvon looked sorrowfully upon his former companions, happy in their
strength and health, when suddenly he drew back from the window and
rapidly closed it as if he would shut out a fatal vision.

"What is it?" exclaimed his mother, alarmed at his sudden pallor.

"Marie has just passed with her father and Master Verachter, the rich
jeweler of Ziereckstraet."

The poor mother tenderly caressed him, without speaking. She seemed to
fear to encourage by the least word this sorrow she knew to be without

Yvon sat a long time at the bedside, his face hidden in his hands. He
recalled his early days, joyous and without care, his affectionate
father and brothers, the winning voice of his mother, who instructed
them in their early duties, and the young Marie, the constant companion
of his youthful plays, whom one day he hoped to call his wife. He had
nearly served his apprenticeship at the forge with his father when this
fatal epidemic broke out, to which his father and brothers fell victims,
and he himself and his mother barely survived. But the blacksmiths of
the city refused to accord him the right to continue his father's
business, as he had not fully worked out the required time. That very
morning he had heard a neighbour, who came to visit his mother, say that
the hand of Marie, which had been the secret of all his efforts and
thoughts, had been promised by her father to the rich jeweler of
Ziereckstraet. He had not believed it, but the sight he saw from the
window confirmed all his fears, and he remained in deep reverie for a
long time.

He was startled from it by the sounds of a violent tempest which had
suddenly broken upon the city. The merciless blast from the North Sea
swept over it, spreading destruction in its course. Everywhere was heard
the falling of tiles, the crashing of glass from the broken windows, the
uprooting of trees, and the distant noise from the river, whose swollen
waters were overflowing its banks. Yvon approached the window; darkness
reigned everywhere, the rain fell in torrents, and had extinguished all
the torches and lights of the streets.

During all this long October night the storm raged with unabated fury;
towards morning it subsided, and when day broke it had passed, leaving
all the country inundated. As the disasters of the city were
insignificant compared with those of the country the inhabitants
consoled themselves with the reflection that others had been more
unfortunate than they. It is often thus that we console ourselves. Those
who passed in the vicinity of the cathedral saw with regret that the
great cross which surmounted the spire had been struck by the lightning,
and was so bent that at any instant it might fall. This cross had cost
so much work and care to place it so high! The news spread rapidly, and
soon the Grande Place before the cathedral was crowded.

In those times, when the love of art reigned supreme, each Flemish city
possessed its monument. Ghent boasted its gigantic belfry, surmounted by
its Byzantine dragon brought from the crusades; Louvain, its Gothic
Hôtel de Ville; Bruges, its old parks and public buildings; while
Antwerp glorified itself justly in its cathedral, of which no one dared
to contest the superiority as a work of art and architecture. All the
citizens viewed this sight with consternation, and asked each other
anxiously who would be the individual bold enough to attempt such a
perilous enterprise. The sound of a trumpet was heard and two heralds
on horseback appeared on the Place. Silence being established, one of
them read with a slow and loud voice the following proclamation:--

[Illustration: CATHEDRAL, ANTWERP.]

"To the good citizens of Antwerp!--We, the Burgomaster and Aldermen of
the city, make known that we have resolved to give five hundred golden
crowns to the person who will reëstablish the iron cross in its ancient
position on the cathedral tower. _Five hundred golden crowns!_ Citizens!
Whoever desires to obtain this munificent reward will present himself
immediately before the Council now assembled at the Hôtel de Ville."

There was a moment of silence. Each one waited to see who would accept,
but no one advanced. The heralds were about to retire, to read elsewhere
their proclamation, when the crowd suddenly opened and gave passage to a
young man, who precipitated himself resolutely towards the Hôtel de
Ville. Every eye was turned towards him with curiosity. He was of
extreme beauty, although emaciated, but from his eyes shone forth manly
resolution and courage. The crowd anxiously waited the result. A few
minutes only had passed when the heralds reappeared to read a second

"To the good citizens of Antwerp!--We, the Burgomaster and Aldermen,
make known that Yvon Bruggermans, blacksmith and free citizen, has
engaged before us this 23d day of October, 1520, to reëstablish our iron
cross in its position upon the tower of the cathedral tomorrow with the
aid of God. Consequently, we order all who may be present to refrain
from distracting the attention of the said Yvon Bruggermans, by cries,
charms, or malicious interventions, but on the contrary to give him all
the assistance which he may need for the accomplishment of his work in
the name of God and the Holy Virgin."

When the time arrived, Yvon, clothed in his holiday suit, approached his
mother's bed and with an animation which she had not seen in him for
several months, embraced her and asked her blessing.

"Where are you going, my son? You are dressed in your holiday suit, and
the fêtes are over."

"I go to look for work, dear Mother," answered he, trying to hide his
agitation. "I feel my strength return, and I can no longer bear the
misery of our situation. Take courage, Mother, I feel the certainty that
a better future is before us."

"My child, take care to do nothing beyond thy strength. Think that all
the riches of the world will be nothing to me if I lose thee."

"And you, my Mother, are you not for me the entire world? I would give
my life willingly to insure your happiness. But time passes; bless me,
dear Mother."

"May the benediction of God be on thee and on thy designs, now and
forever. Amen," said his mother gravely with her eyes raised to heaven,
and with her right hand upon the head of her kneeling son.

After a last embrace, he left with a firm and resolute step. The most
trying proof was past, and he felt his courage and hope revive. He soon
arrived at the Grande Place, where an immense crowd was assembled. All
eyes were turned upon him with an expression of pity and regret, and
voices murmured in his ear words of encouragement, sympathy and hope.
But Yvon, avoiding as much as possible every species of emotion,
advanced without answering, traversed the crowd, and entered the
cathedral. He approached the altar, which was decorated as if for a
fête, and kneeling, recited with fervour this prayer:

"Lord of Heaven, I risk my life not to gain a miserable sum of money,
but to save my mother; preserve me, then, for the love of her, or if it
must be that I die, permit me to accomplish the work I have undertaken.
Father all-powerful, I place my soul in thy hands."

He then rose and proceeded with a firm step towards the door of the
spiral steps which lead to the summit of the tower. As he ascended he
saw through the loopholes the crowd increasing, until all the
neighbouring roofs, windows and balconies were filled; everywhere a sea
of heads. He arrived at last at the end of the steps. After having
thrown a glance of admiration over the country, he turned his gaze
toward the city. At his feet he distinguished the sign of the Red Lion.
He thought of his mother, then turned toward the dwelling of Marie. The
remembrance of her animated his courage, for on his success depended the
only chance he had of obtaining her hand, and he prepared himself to
finish the most perilous part of his undertaking. Before him rose this
long, perpendicular spire, the summit of which he must reach without any
other means of ascent than the crevices between the stones. He attached
to a strong rope the brazier and tools which he had brought to work
with, fastened this firmly around his waist, and after crossing himself
devoutly commenced his perilous ascent.

The crowd watched him as he slowly mounted. Deep emotion filled every
breast. Not a sound was heard until he arrived at the summit and stood
immobile at the foot of the cross. Then burst forth a universal cry of
admiration. He lighted his brazier and actively commenced his work,
attaching firmly to the cross one end of the rope, of which the other
encircled his body. The multitude saw the great cross rise slowly and by
degrees under the repeated blows of the hammer, and with every stroke
his strength appeared to increase.

Fifteen minutes had hardly passed when cries of enthusiasm saluted the
cross completely restored. His first thought was an aspiration of
gratitude to heaven, the second was for his mother. Then he thought with
an emotion of indescribable joy of Marie, who would be his, for her
father certainly could not refuse, when he should have the five hundred
golden crowns obtained in such an heroic manner. His happiness was at
its height, and fearing that his emotion might prove fatal, he crossed
himself and prepared to descend, but before doing so he threw a last
glance over the crowd. He saw them separate to give passage to a wedding
cortége, which advanced towards the cathedral. Attracted in spite of
himself, he regarded attentively all the members. He noticed a young
girl dressed in white as a bride leaning on the arm of an old man. He
supported himself at the foot of the cross and leaned as far as possible
to assure himself of the reality of his fears--his eyes distended, his
face livid, and his whole body trembling with emotion. They glanced
upwards to see the young workman who had raised the cross--Yvon gave a
cry of agony, for this bride was Marie, and at her side the old jeweler
Verachter of Ziereckstraet! The shock was too violent for his spirit
exhausted by so many struggles. He fainted--his hands dropped the
support which held him, he remained an instant immovable--then fell. But
the rope which was around him remained fixed to the foot of the cross,
and he was for some minutes suspended in space. The crowd who had seen
his fall with terror believed him saved, but the rope had touched the
lighted brazier, and soon the body of the unfortunate Yvon fell a
disfigured and bleeding mass in the midst of this brilliant wedding
cortege, at the feet of the bride.

The next day a deputation of magistrates of the city went to carry to
his mother the five hundred golden crowns, the price of the blood of her
son. But the chamber was empty. A coffin was placed in the middle of the
room. Death had spared the poor mother this great affliction. Yvon was
buried on the spot where he fell, and the blue stone, with the brass
encrusted in the marble, alone indicates the place where lies the body
of the young blacksmith.




One evening in the year 1552, the bells of the numerous churches and
chapels of the pious city of Antwerp were heard calling the faithful to
divine service, to pray for the repose of the souls of their deceased
relatives and friends. The heavens were obscured by black and angry
clouds; the wind blew in strong gusts, accompanied by a drizzling rain.
A profound silence reigned in the obscure streets. As the greater part
of the population were in the churches, one could easily have traversed
half the city without meeting a living soul, except, perhaps, some tardy
worshiper, hastening to regain lost time and to arrive at the Salut,
before the Tantum Ergo.

Notwithstanding the importance of the religious solemnities which were
being performed in all the houses of God, and the detestable weather
which drove every one from the streets, a man stood motionless before a
house in the rue des Tailleurs de Pierres, enveloped in a dark cloak. He
remained motionless, feeling neither the wind nor the rain, his eyes
fixed on the windows, trying vainly to distinguish the least ray of
light. He was young, with effeminate features, and his upper lip was
shaded by a light moustache; although he endeavoured to conquer the
emotions which agitated him, it was not difficult to discover by the
contraction of his brows, that bitter thoughts filled him with despair.
The house before which he stood was that of a rich banker named Frügger.
After having stood there some time, he lost hope of seeing in this
dwelling the wished-for object, and with that, the courage to remain
longer exposed to the inclemency of the storm, so he walked slowly away
in the direction of the Scheldt. While he was in the neighbourhood of
the mansion of Frügger he stopped from time to time and regarded it
still with the same ardent anxiety which for more than an hour had
characterized his contemplation. When at last the distance and the
obscurity prevented him from seeing it, the expression of his
countenance became still more sorrowful.

Letting his head droop upon his chest, he sighed, "Katharina, thou
lovest me no more! Thou hast forgotten me! Thou hast abandoned me! It is
foolish for me to doubt it! Oh! now it is finished! I wish no longer to
live! Existence becomes a burden to me."

At the moment he pronounced these words, expressed with such profound
despair, he arrived at the Canal St. Jean, not far from the river. At
that time, there stood at this place a water mill. Suddenly the noise of
the water pouring over the wheel attracted his attention, and drew him
from his somber reverie. He raised his head, his eyes sparkled, the
expression of his features became nearly radiant, his steps were firmer,
and with a species of cruel joy he directed himself towards the canal.
It could not be doubted that the unfortunate young man wished to put an
end to his sufferings, which he believed would terminate only with his
life. He was already on the banks of the Scheldt. One step farther and
he would have disappeared in the waves, when suddenly the bells of the
city recommenced their funeral knell.

These lugubrious sounds had a singular effect upon his spirit. He
recoiled with fright, his thoughts suddenly changed. He was astonished
to think he had contemplated committing a crime to put an end to his
troubles. He turned away and was soon far from the place where he had so
nearly put into execution his fatal project. A quarter of an hour after,
he was near the church of St. André, calmer, but still despairing.

"Ungrateful," he said to himself, "to commit a crime that would have
brought affliction upon the last days, and covered with shame the white
hairs of the worthy old man, your father, who loves you so tenderly, and
has only yourself in the world. God knows if he would have survived your
suicide, if sorrow would not have brought him to the grave. And why? For
a woman that you have loved, that you still love more than words can
express! How do you know she merits your love? And has she ever loved
you? Foolish to doubt! She still loves you--Oh, no! she has lost all
interest in you and treats you as if there never existed the least
sympathetic sentiment between you."

Saying this, he turned, stopped, and appeared to consider anew whether
he should return to the canal. It was the last attempt of the spirit of
evil upon his heart enfeebled by suffering. Happily his good angel
watched over him and gave him strength to resist.

After a moment of hesitation he continued his route, murmuring, "But
no, that cannot be; she cannot have forgotten me, she must love me
yet--Katharina, this angel with looks so pure, voice so sweet,
expression so celestial, thoughts so candid, she could never deceive me.
For her I would give my life. She cannot abandon me thus; but why does
she not let me hear from her? She must realize that her silence and this
uncertainty make me suffer torments."

Thus reasoning, by turns filled with hope and despair, he gradually
approached the principal entrance of the church. Divine service had long
since commenced. The majestic tones of the organ rang through the
vaulted roof, floating over the heads of the kneeling faithful. He
entered more through curiosity and to distract his grief, than through
piety, or to pray for the souls of the dead, as he felt that in his
distracted state of mind it would be impossible for him to elevate his
thoughts above the earth, and to invoke God with any other intention
than that of seeing his well beloved.

The church of St. André at this period was a remarkable edifice, built
in the Gothic style, and of an imposing appearance. Its origin was as
follows: In 1519 the Augustinian monks possessed on this spot a
magnificent cloister from which the street takes its name. Several of
these friars, being suspected of heresy, and of following the example of
their colleague, the famous monk of Württemberg, were expelled from the
city. The cloister was demolished and sold, with the exception of the
church that the order was building, which was finished with the
authorization of Pope Adrian VI, under the invocation of St. André. The
spectacle which the interior of the church presented at this moment was
not calculated to inspire our hero with less sorrowful thoughts or more
consoling reflections. Everything there spoke of death, eternity and
purgatory. The nave was draped with black; upon all sides, upon the
pillars, on the altar, on the candelabra, were funeral emblems, death's
heads and cross bones, and skeletons, speaking of punishments and
expiations of the other life. He felt ill at ease in the midst of all
these lugubrious decorations. This colossal edifice, partially lighted
by innumerable wax candles, this compact crowd kneeling on the marble
and buried in prayer, these gigantic columns hidden under the funeral
drapings, and, more than all, the mournful strains of the organ and the
solemn character of the chants, saddened him and filled him with an
indefinable and mysterious fear.

All this only served to recall more vividly his own situation, and he
felt he could no longer endure it. As he advanced towards another door
of the church he noticed in the shade of a pillar a female who, while
appearing to pray with fervour, watched all his movements and
endeavoured to attract his attention. Before her two persons were
kneeling, one a young girl with an angelic countenance, whose elegant
figure was not entirely hidden by the ample folds of her black silk
cloak. He recognized her whose silence had made him suffer so cruelly.
The other, an old man whose features were strongly marked with sternness
and severity, was the father of Katharina. The female who had at first
attracted his attention was the servant, whose eloquent gestures had
caused to disappear, as if by enchantment, the sorrow and discouragement
of the desolate lover, who thought no more of leaving the church.
Drawing his cloak around him, so as to conceal as much as possible his
features, he placed himself behind the persons upon whom all his
thoughts were concentrated, and decided to wait until the close of the
services, hoping he should succeed in learning something of the
inexplicable conduct of the daughter of the banker. The service was
finished, the last modulations of the organ had died away, when the old
man and his daughter prepared to leave the church.

The young man followed as near as possible, without being noticed. Near
the door he felt some one press his arm and at the same instant put in
his hand a letter, which he took without pronouncing a word. He
continued to follow the three persons instinctively. It was only after
seeing them enter their dwelling and close the door that he thought of
returning home.


To those acquainted, however slightly, with the history of Antwerp it
will be superfluous to recall the immense prosperity of the city at the
time of our little drama. To give an idea of its ancient wealth and
magnificence, it will suffice to say that five hundred vessels ascended
and descended the Scheldt daily. The river near the city was literally
covered with ships at anchor, waiting their turn to discharge; they
often extended as far as the village of Hoboken, three miles from the
city, which gave rise to the Flemish saying "Op de Hobooksche hei
liggen" (To remain in the fields of Hoboken). This saying is used to
designate persons who are obliged to wait a long time for the
accomplishment of their desires. Nearly every nation had its
representatives in the fine and celebrated city of Antwerp, and one of
the writers of the time said that the Antwerpians could study the
customs, language and costumes of all the nations of the globe without
leaving their city. We will not attempt to explain the causes of this
gigantic prosperity, which caused Antwerp to be the rival of Genoa and
Venice. Its admirable situation, which still contributes to its
prosperity, was one of the principal reasons. The fairs, like those of
Leipsic and Frankfort, were endowed with many valuable privileges; one
of these guaranteed to its visitors a species of inviolability. They
could not be molested for debt during the continuance of the fair and
while making their return trip to their homes. It is not astonishing
that with the freedom and facility which foreign merchants enjoyed they
preferred Antwerp to other cities, and that it attained such a degree of

Among the foreign bankers the most noted was a German named Wolfgang
Frügger. He was descended from the famous Früggers of Augsburg, who had
representatives in France, Spain, Italy and Antwerp. They were the
richest bankers of Europe, the Rothschilds of the epoch. He had
inherited from his father a sum of six million crowns, a fabulous amount
at that time. His house had the reputation of containing more treasures
than the palace of a king. He was called by every one "Frügger the
Rich." He lived in a very simple, miserly manner.

Frügger had been for a long time connected with another German banker,
immensely rich, named Hochstetter, whose mode of living differed
essentially from that of the father of Katharina. He lived in a princely
manner in a palace which he had built in the street that still bears his
name. It appears that notwithstanding the difference in their manner of
living, they agreed marvelously, and visited each other frequently.
Their names were inseparable upon the Bourse, as all believed that there
existed between the two houses a secret partnership, and why should they
not have believed so? For when the name of one alone was cited in a
transaction it was soon known that the other participated in it. When
the loan of £152,000 sterling was made to Henry VIII, King of England,
ostensibly by Frügger alone, it was soon known that it was an operation
of the two houses. Later, when Hochstetter concluded his loan of
3,000,000 crowns of gold, to the King of Portugal, Frügger, which was a
mystery for no one, took part for at least one-half.

Thus it had been for many years, when suddenly without any apparent
cause the union of the rich Germans was interrupted in the most complete
manner. They ceased to visit and became as strangers. Although no one
knew the reason of this sudden change they did not doubt that Frügger
was the cause, as it was known that Hochstetter had been to visit him
and had not been received. This happened a few days only before the
ceremonies at the church for the repose of the dead. Frügger had not for
several days appeared at the Bourse, which had filled all the merchants
with astonishment.


The same evening of the ceremonies two persons conversed together in one
of the salons of the superb mansion of Hochstetter. One of them was a
man of about sixty years of age, of a venerable aspect, whose features
expressed mildness and benevolence. This was Hochstetter. Not far from
him was seated in a heavy oaken chair the young man whom we have
followed from the river to the church; he appeared a prey to great
despair and tried vainly to repress his tears. The father was reading
the letter which the servant of Katharina had given to the lover of her
mistress, and from time to time he stopped to bestow upon his son a
regard full of tenderness, but the contents of the letter were not of a
nature to calm his sorrows, or to give him courage. It ran as follows:

     "It is eight long days that I have not seen you, nor your
     worthy father, and I have not even been able to send you any
     word. Perhaps you have already accused me of forgetfulness and
     ingratitude. If it is thus, ask God to pardon your unjust
     suspicions, for never were reproaches less merited. If you knew
     my situation you would feel only pity for my unhappy fate, and
     you would not impute sentiments to me which are far from my
     heart. Since the day your father, my esteemed guardian, came to
     demand my hand, my father has changed so much that I can hardly
     recognize him. Not contented with forbidding me all
     communication with you, he will not even allow me to talk with
     any one; even my own maid is a prisoner like myself. Not a word
     from you or your father have I had. I have only been told you
     asked my hand in marriage. When I asked my father for an
     explanation he answered me that it was not yet time but that he
     would give me one later. I cannot comprehend it--my father who
     has appeared to love me so tenderly and has always gratified
     all my wishes--to treat me suddenly with so much severity, so
     much cruelty. What can I say? He knows that I love you, and
     what adds to my grief is not to be able to tell you my
     troubles, and not to see you. He is not ignorant that I suffer
     and weep almost continually. I fear you will ascribe my silence
     to other sentiments. He has kept me from your father and all my
     friends who could speak to me of you. He has also changed so
     much that it astonishes me; he is always agitated, filled with
     a continual fear which it is impossible for me to understand;
     he trembles and turns pale at the slightest noise, speaks of
     thieves and robbers as if the city contained them by thousands;
     in the evening he dares not retire until he has assured himself
     that the doors are well fastened. His long, strange absences,
     of which I have formerly spoken to you, become more and more
     frequent, and they often last for hours. No one sees him go
     out, but he is nowhere to be found. Then suddenly he appears
     without any one being able to say how he has entered. He has
     forbidden me to go to the morning mass as I have always done,
     and it was with great reluctance that he accompanied me to the
     church of St. André to pray for the repose of the soul of my
     deceased mother, whose loss I have never felt more deeply than
     now. As I have the hope of seeing you there, I know not why, I
     have written these lines, and confide them to Clara and pray
     that she may find means of giving them to you."

This letter did not appear to astonish Hochstetter much, but his
discontent was none the less visible.

"Decidedly he is losing his senses," murmured he, throwing it upon the
table. Then, turning towards his son, "Carl," said he, taking his hand,
"calm yourself, you see that all is not lost as you feared, and you were
wrong to doubt Katharina. The poor child loves you more than ever."

"But her father," sighed Carl, "her father. I avow that his conduct...."

"But I think I understand it. I have been connected with him twenty
years and I think I know him well enough to flatter myself that he had
much friendship for us, and that it must cost him something to sacrifice
it for an idea; but still he shows himself uncivil, refuses to have any
more transactions with me, and when I visited him to demand an
explanation he would not receive me. He forbids his daughter, my ward,
all communication with us, and for what?--because I have asked of him
her hand in marriage for my only son, whose fortune is larger than that
of any other in the city! He has seen this attachment in the games of
your infancy and has always approved of it. If I regret one thing it is
not the interruption of our commercial relations, or the loss of his
friendship, but the sudden disappointment of the hopes which this union
had made me form for you. Alas! do not be discouraged, my son; you have
not so much to complain of, it appears to me. The young girl loves you,
you cannot doubt it, and in spite of the severity of her father she
finds means to communicate with you, and then she says that she does not
comprehend her father's strange conduct, and gives us to understand that
he must labour under some aberration of mind. I am sure that when he is
reëstablished in health we shall find him the same old friend and tender
father, who will be pleased to have you for a son-in-law. For where will
he find one more suitable in every respect? Besides, you will be
immensely rich."

"If Frügger will not accord me the hand of Katharina of what use will
all the riches of the earth be to me?"

"Lover's words! Riches are always useful; you will learn that later. He
will consent; but if he persists in his absurd obstinacy will you
consent to marry her without any dowry, or even the fortune which
belongs to her from her mother?"

"Instantly, even if she were the daughter of the most humble artisan."

"I will make another attempt. I know him well enough to prophesy that my
offers will be accepted. Console yourself; all will be well." After this
they separated, each to retire to his apartment.


At the rue des Tailleurs de Pierres, in one of the rooms of the house of
Frügger, took place almost at the same moment, a scene which, although
of another character, still related to the same subject as the one which
had just occurred at the house of Hochstetter.

"My child," said Frügger to his daughter, "you know that since the death
of your mother I have loved no one but yourself in this world, and have
endeavoured to augment my fortune only in order to make you the richest
heiress of all the provinces reunited under the scepter of the Emperor
Charles V. You, for whom I have done so much, for whom I continue to
amass wealth, in order to elevate you so high that misfortune can never
reach you, and whom all the world shall envy; you can do nothing for
me? Why refuse me, who have never refused you the accomplishment of the
slightest desire? Why refuse me the obedience that every child owes to
its parents, even when they have not done for it what I have done for

"Father," responded Katharina in a firm tone, "I have never refused to
obey you, and have always endeavoured to prove by my obedience that I
have not ceased to love and respect you, which is my wish and duty."

"It is probably with this intention," said the old man bitterly, "that
notwithstanding my express will you still persist in loving the son of

"Oh, Father," interrupted the young girl, blushing deeply.

"Try not to deny it," answered he with anger. "You love him, you love
him madly, in spite of me or my strict orders, and the obedience which
you declare you owe me."

Katharina was too much agitated to answer immediately. She hesitated,
and then said with a trembling voice, which grew firmer as she

"I love him more than I can say, more than I know myself, which renders
me incapable of obeying you, when you require that I shall forget him.
Can you make me commit a crime? Is it not you yourself who have taught
me from my most tender youth to esteem and love Hochstetter as your
friend, and the friend of my deceased mother, and to consider him as my
second father? Is it my fault if in obeying you I have ended by loving
his son, the friend of my infancy, the companion of my youthful days,
the only child of my guardian? No, the fault is yours at first, yours
alone, and in commanding me to change my sentiments you demand an
impossibility and render me the most unhappy of all beings!"

"It is true," murmured Frügger, striking his forehead. "It is my fault,
it is my fault. I have had too much confidence. I have delivered myself
to them bound hand and foot, like an old fool that I was. But if with an
effort you can satisfy me, render me happy?" questioned he, raising his

"Render you happy, Father? I do not understand you. Why is your interest
so great?"

"What interest, child," cried he, with a frightful expression upon his
features, "what interest!--You know you are sure of my affection for
you, but I believe, nevertheless, that sooner than let you persevere in
this love I prefer to see you dead. Oh, yes, dead! Ask of me all you
wish, demand my blood, my life, but I plead with you, renounce this
detested Carl, whom I hate as my enemy," continued he, seizing her arm
and pressing it with savage energy. "Renounce him, I pray you; say that
you will love him no more, that you will think of him only as an
enemy--as the enemy of your father."

Katharina burst into tears. "I wish I could promise what you exact of
me, but I feel it impossible to keep a promise to forget him."

"Oh! say to me that you will never abandon me, never leave me alone in
my solitary dwelling," pursued the merciless old man, without appearing
to have heard the words of his daughter; "say that you will not marry
while I live. You wish not my death, do you?"

"Your death!"

"Yes, my death! Listen! I lost your mother while you were an infant. It
is needless to say what a terrible blow her loss was to me, but I have
consoled myself with the idea that you remained to me, and with the hope
of finding in you all her virtues. This hope has not been deceived. I
see in you today my regretted Anne, with her beauty, all her precious
qualities, and her incessant cares for my happiness. If in losing you I
lose a second time all that is dear to me I shall not survive it."

"Father, I pray you."

"Oh, I know what you wish to say, that your husband would be my friend,
would prove a most tender and respectful son; perhaps even through pity
he would consent to leave you with me; but the idea alone of knowing
that when he wished he could take you from me would embitter my life.
And now," said he, perceiving with joy that his words had made a
profound impression upon the young girl, "Katharina, I appeal to your
heart. Will you abandon the poor old man who lives only by you and for
you? Can you reduce to despair and fill with bitterness the few days
which yet remain to me? Would you kill me slowly and force me to curse
in my last moments, my only daughter, whose abandonment will have caused
my death?"

"Never, oh, never!" she cried, throwing herself in tears upon his
breast. "Pardon me, my poor father."

"Thus you will remain? Always! You will never think of marrying while I


"Oh, I knew it," cried he, embracing her. "I knew I should recover my
daughter! The conviction that you have assured the happiness of your
father will soften the bitterness of your regrets."

She fell upon her knees sobbing, a prey to an indescribable emotion. He
placed his hand upon her head, and raising his eyes to heaven said with
an inspired air:

"God, who has promised long and prosperous days in this life, and in the
other eternal felicity, to children who love and obey their parents, may
he bless thee as I bless thee, and render thee tenfold the joy which I
feel at this moment, at thy filial piety."

Raising the weeping Katharina he rang a bell placed upon a table near
him. Her servant appeared. Katharina embraced him anew, and left the
room, supported by the maid.


Frügger waited until he heard her enter her apartment. Then he closed
the door. A smile of satisfaction played around the corners of his
mouth, and a look of triumph lightened his features. He remained at
first motionless and silent. Little by little the air of contentment
disappeared and gave place to one of anxiety. His face contracted; he
rose and commenced to walk back and forth in the room.

"If she should change her ideas, retract the promise that I have
extorted from her; if she should force me to consent to her marriage,
or worse still, marry without it, what could I do then?--Oppose her
design?---Impossible!--Here," said he, taking from an escritoire a
parchment covered with several seals, "here is this abhorred writing
signed by the hand of my wife, which exacts that when my daughter
attains the age of twenty-five years--or sooner, if she wishes to
marry--that I shall give her half of my fortune, and to complete the
misfortune, confides to Hochstetter the guardianship of my child! Ah! my
wife knew well what she did in making this will! She knew me, and was
not ignorant that this gold, these bonds, these treasures, were my life,
and that I would give my soul to preserve them, and would willingly
sacrifice my eternal salvation rather than be separated from them. Part
with them? Malediction! Another to possess and have in his power these
riches, fruits of so many days of anxiety and nights filled with
anguish--of so many unfortunate speculations!--Another to manage this
wealth so laboriously amassed--to have the right to dispose of my money,
to squander it perhaps, for I know these Hochstetters; they live like
princes and entertain all the nobles of the land.--Grand Dieu! Not to be
able to rejoice daily over the sight of these riches; to part with
half. Never! that shall never be! I!--Yes! I will sooner kill the
unfortunate child."

In exclaiming thus, the expression of his face was so terrible that it
was almost fiendish. The violence of his emotions was so powerful that
he was himself startled by their intensity. After a few moments of
reflection he became more calm.

"I am wrong to agitate myself thus; she will not marry; she has promised
it; and then have I not the testament in my own hands? But Hochstetter
knows it; he possesses proofs of its existence. I fear he has a copy of
it. Oh! he knows very well what he has done! My daughter, the wife of
his son--_le misérable_! To abuse thus my friendship, my confidence;
that calls for revenge. But no, I have merited it; it is my fault. She
loves the son and respects the father more than she does me. I could cry
with rage."

Pronouncing these words with ferocity he fell back upon his seat, somber
and discouraged, and remained plunged in thought.


A half hour later, when he judged that all were wrapped in slumber he
rose, took from a secret compartment of his escritoire a little key,
lighted a dark lantern, and left the room. After having assured himself
that there was no fear of meeting any one, he advanced softly and
descended the staircase. Arriving in the spacious corridor, he first
went to the street door to assure himself that it was solidly fastened,
returned, opened another door at the end of the corridor, and descended
the stairs which led into the cellar. The dwelling of the miser was very
large; the cellars extended under the street, forming a species of
labyrinth. His father had constructed them upon a vast scale in order
that they might serve as storehouses in times of trouble. Frügger went
through them with a sure step which proved sufficiently that all the
nooks and corners were familiar to him. After having traversed several
of these subterranean chambers, he stopped suddenly before one of the
last, and listened attentively, to assure himself that the same silence
continued to reign, and that no one would come to interrupt him. As all
remained tranquil he advanced towards one of the angles of the vault.
This angle differed in no respect from the others; the walls were as
damp and as dark, but hardly had Frügger introduced the little key into
an imperceptible opening, which no one but himself could distinguish,
when a solid iron door turned upon its hinges, opened, and permitted him
to pass into another vault of which no one would have suspected the
existence. After having listened anxiously and persuaded himself that no
one watched him, he entered; the massive door shut behind him with a
loud clang that sounded through the subterranean apartments. A second
after the silence of death reigned throughout the dwelling.


The next day Hochstetter presented himself at the house. He had come for
the last time to ask the hand of Katharina for his son. Knowing his
friend for so many years he had discovered, notwithstanding Frügger's
efforts to hide it, the inexorable passion which tyrannized over him,
but he would never have believed that the miser would be dominated by
this passion to such an extent as to cause the unhappiness of these two
children. Seeing that this demon of avarice gained upon him every day he
had come to propose the union of Katharina and his son, upon such terms
as would be exceedingly gratifying to the old man. He would take his
daughter without obliging him to part with the slightest portion of his
colossal fortune, not even the heritage left her by her mother. He felt
almost certain that his old friend would hasten to consent as soon as
he made known his intentions.

But Frügger could not be found. The servants, who for a long time had
become accustomed to the prolonged absences of their master, at first
were not anxious. They begged Hochstetter to return later in the day,
which he did, but still no news of Frügger. As his disappearances had
never lasted so long, when the whole day had passed, anxiety was at its
height. On returning the third time, he insisted upon seeing Katharina.
Their anxiety overcame their respect for the severe orders of their
master, and they conducted him to her presence. The young girl was happy
to see her old friend; grief had rendered her incapable of taking the
necessary measures of searching for her father, which Hochstetter
willingly undertook. He performed this task conscientiously, and did all
that was possible to be done, sparing neither trouble nor expense to
discover the retreat of his friend. He sent couriers to Germany,
Holland, Italy, and to all the great commercial cities with which
Frügger had had business connections--but in vain. No one had seen the
rich German. No one could give any information of him.

Another circumstance astonished Hochstetter. He knew that the fortune
of Frügger was one of the most colossal of this period, and even if he
had not known it, his books, kept with the most scrupulous neatness and
exactitude, were there to prove that, far from diminishing, it had
increased considerably; but then, in making the inventory of what he
really possessed, they found only a quarter of what was expected. This
circumstance caused much remark from the Antwerp merchants and the
members of his family who came to Antwerp to convince themselves of the
truth of such an incredible event. It was rumoured at the Bourse that
Frügger the Rich had fled, or committed suicide perhaps, on account of
the enormous losses that he had sustained, and that his fortune had
diminished in an alarming manner. But Hochstetter knew too well the
fortune and the speculations of Frügger to put any faith in these
rumours. The only certainty was that he had disappeared and with him the
greatest part of his riches, and that Katharina had become an orphan
sufficiently rich but much below what she could have one day hoped for.

A little more than a year after the disappearance of Frügger the two
lovers were married in the church of St. André. Long, very long, the
miser's fate remained an inexplicable mystery, and would have perhaps
so remained forever, if, as frequently happens, accident had not
explained the enigma. After the marriage Carl and Katharina went to live
in the sumptuous mansion of her husband, and the house of Frügger was
more or less abandoned. Hochstetter had been dead many years when their
eldest son was about to be married, and as the house of Frügger formed a
part of his dowry they resolved to repair and alter it, and make it
worthy of receiving the young couple. One day while the workmen were
excavating in the garden they came to announce to Carl that they had
found a few feet under the earth a vault of which no one knew the
existence. It contained bars of gold and silver, coins of all countries,
precious stones, and especially diamonds of incalculable value. On the
floor lay a skeleton. From the pieces of clothing that still covered it
it was recognized as that of "Frügger the Miser." In searching further
they discovered a heavy iron door, communicating with the other cellars,
and so artistically concealed in the walls that it was impossible to
suspect its existence.

To open it, they were obliged to demolish it completely. A very small
key was found on the other side of the door, still remaining in the
lock. There was the explanation of his frequent absences and of the
final disappearance of the old man. In his eagerness to enjoy the sight
of his treasures, he had forgotten to take out the key upon entering his
sanctuary; the door had closed upon him and he had remained alone with
his gold, and starved in the midst of riches vast enough to have bought
a realm.



They were seated in a rich and shady arbour, over which creeping vines
wandered in every variety of curve, suspending large clusters of
precious fruits, while the atmosphere was laden with the mellow
fragrance of the gorgeous plants which grew in wild, untutored
luxuriance about the shady retreat. The fading light of day yet
lingered, and gave a rosy hue to the face of the maid who sat therein,
as she regarded with mournful tenderness the youth seated at her side.

"Nay, Quentin," said she, "say not so, it is duty which prompts me to
say it must not be. Had I not affection for my father, do you believe I
would act contrary to my own desires? would I cause you unhappiness?"

"Is this your love?" said the other, with a tone of fretfulness.
"Methinks it cannot be a very ardent flame when it is so easily
extinguished by the perverse and obstinate tyranny of a--"

"Stay your words," interrupted the girl, as she laid her delicate hand
tenderly on his lips. "You will respect the father if you love the
child." The noble mind of the youth was struck with the reproof, and
although opposed to his desires her filial reply expressed such purity
and excellence, that he instantly made reparation.

"Forgive me, dearest," he entreated. "I spoke hastily and unworthily.
But your words have crazed my soul, which builds its happiness on the
possession of you. If it may not be that I shall be your husband, oh!
promise me that no other shall."

"I would fain do so," sighed the afflicted girl, "but if my father
commands, can I disobey? I have had no mother's care since childhood,
but I have scarce felt the loss. My father has thrown off the coldness
of a man and been a very woman in his affection for me. Shall I repay
his kindness with ingratitude? Alas! Quentin, if he tells me to love
another, I cannot do so; but if he bids me wed, Quentin, you would not
censure me?" The expiring rays of the setting sun fell on her features
as she earnestly gazed upon her lover.

"Ah!" cried the youth, with a sudden start, as he struck his hand upon
his brow, "why that blush, that agitation? Deceive me not, Elzia, you
are not supposing a case. This has already happened; I see it all; your
father has selected a bridegroom for you."

The maid sank her head upon his bosom, and through her struggling tears
she sobbed, "Quentin, thou hast said it."

Desperate was the conflict in the bosom of the youth as he sat like one
in a trance, his eyes fixed on hers, which, like the sun breaking
through clouds of the passing storm, gleamed from under their dripping
lashes. Soon he saw the rainbow of hope.

"Who is my rival?" he asked with a voice scarcely audible.

"Van Deg," she answered sorrowfully.

"Do you love him, Elzia?"

"How can you ask?"

"Will you marry him?"

"My father's happiness is dearer to me than my own. Think you I would
wantonly sacrifice it?"

"But why van Deg?"

"Because he excels in my father's art."

"Alas!" cried the despairing lover, "why am I not a painter?"

The bed of Quentin was one of thorns that night, as he threw himself
upon it and yielded to his agony of thought. How vainly, yet how
ardently had he loved, how industriously had he laboured to procure her
affection. Just when he had achieved the victory over her confiding
heart, all that he struggled for was lost--no, not lost--he could bear
the thoughts of her death, he could weep over her grave, he could care
for the flowers above it, but to think that the prize must be torn from
him to be given to another's embrace, there was madness in it. And then
van Deg, that rough, haughty, distant man! how unworthy he to possess a
jewel of such value, how unfit to care for such a tender plant, how
unsuitable his unsocial spirit for the angel who needed some congenial
soul to insure her happiness.

"Will she not droop and die in that cold atmosphere with him?" he asked
himself, as at length exhausted nature yielded to weariness and he fell

The mind, however, yielded not to the fatigue of the body; on the
contrary it seemed to have more abundant vitality. Quentin dreamed he
was in the street. The bells rang, the people shouted, and gay equipages
passed by. It was a day of public rejoicing, for Elzia, the daughter of
Algini, was to wed van Deg, the nation's favourite, the celebrated
painter. People recounted the scenes he had delineated and lauded the
artist to the skies. Quentin trembled and the cold perspiration gathered
on his forehead as the nuptial cavalcade approached. They halted at the
chapel and the groom conducted the bride all pale and trembling up the
aisle to the altar. As the father was about giving his daughter away,
Quentin rushed up and seized her; she shrieked and fell dead in his
embrace. Her relatives and the priest all gazed in horror! Quentin
raised his eyes, saw the misery in their countenances, and as his face
fell upon the bosom of his lovely burden he expired--and at that moment

Still the people were before his eyes, fresh in his recollection as if
he had beheld the awful scenes by the noonday sun. Impelled by an
unaccountable impulse he arose and lighted his lamp, and taking a coal
from the extinguished embers in his chimney, he commenced a picture of
this scene upon the wall. He drew each face, recoiling in surprise at
the perfect resemblance to the individuals. As he finished the outline
he beheld in it a faithful transfer of his dream, wanting nothing but
colour. A thousand thoughts darted through his brain. He flung himself
on his bed, and when he next awoke the rays of the sun had gilded his
apartment. His first object was to seek the mural picture, and he
trembled lest it had all been a dream, but there it stood as if executed
by a magic power.

"If this is the result of an effort with charcoal," cried he, striking
his breast in a delirium of joy, "what might I not effect with other
means? What might be my reward?"

As daylight sought its slumbers in the bosom of night the lovers met
again. "I'm doing wrong," murmured Elzia, "in meeting you, since I am an
affianced bride. This night must be our last. It is a sad thing to part
with those we love; yet I act as virtue dictates, and we must meet no
more, as--"

"Say not that we shall meet no more as lovers; say that we shall meet no
more; for, Elzia, could we meet but to love, to upbraid fate which so
cruelly divides us?"

"I must away," said the girl; "if Quentin's affection is pure he will
condemn me for lingering."

"Farewell, then, sweetest. If I lose thee I will wander to some distant
clime and strive to bury my regrets in new cares and new companions."

He imprinted a kiss upon her willing lips. He watched her retiring form
as it appeared and disappeared amid the foliage at intervals until it
was finally lost to his anxious view; then he turned slowly and sadly

Never did father love his daughter with more fondness than Algini his
child Elzia. Her good was his great aim. He was an enthusiast in the art
of the pencil, and deemed that one of that profession would be most
worthy of his child. The two passions of his soul mingled in such a
manner that they became one. He considered the canvas a lasting monument
to genius, and that he would best secure his daughter's happiness by
uniting her to one who would be alive to all posterity in his works.
Algini had therefore selected van Deg, as he was the boast of his
country, and the figures of his creation wanted nothing but motion to
make them the exact counterpart of the living originals. Besides, he was
wealthy and would add to the riches of the family. Finally, his
daughter was not old enough now to judge for herself, and though she
had confessed that she was prejudiced against her proposed husband, a
few years of connubial intercourse would overcome that, and she would
ultimately be benefited.

Just as the father was at this point of reflection a letter carrier
entered the apartment and handed him a letter, saying he would wait
without for an answer, that he had been bound by oath not to disclose
who had commissioned him to deliver this communication. Algini was
astonished at these words, and as soon as the man retired broke the seal
and read.

     "If the parent consulted the daughter's happiness would he not
     find out from her whether she loves another? I think she does.
     May it not be a mistake for van Deg to possess the fair being?
     May her marriage to the man of your choice not hurry her to
     another world? Her obedience causes her to submit. I lay claim
     to her affections, but do not pretend to alter your
     determination. You have the reputation of patronizing merit as
     it appears in painting. Defer the nuptials to this day twelve
     month, and let van Deg on that day place his chef d'oeuvre on
     the left of the altar. If the one which appears on the right
     does not tell of a more skilful master I abide the result. If
     it does, then it is fair to leave your daughter the privilege
     of choosing her husband."

The father was delighted with the proposal, and agreed to the trial of
skill in his favourite pursuit. He accordingly returned word of his
acceptance of the terms and notified van Deg thereof.

A year passed away, during which the lovers never met. Elzia had lost
sight of Quentin, and in answer to her inquiries concerning him, all
that she had been able to learn was that shortly after their last
interview he had left the city and had gone no one knew whither.

The wedding day arrived. Elzia kept a smiling face, although her soul
was weighed down by grief.

The chapel was thronged with people anxious to view the ceremony, and as
the bride, richly clad, was led to the altar by her father the latter
announced that her hand was to be bestowed on the artist whose skill was
to be determined by the merit of the pictures which stood veiled on
either side of the altar. At the proclamation van Deg glanced
triumphantly around, and striding to the picture he had painted,
uncurtained it to their view. A burst of applause rose from the
audience as he did so, and well merited was the cry of approval. The
painting was of the chapel and the company assembled for the marriage.
There was the priest all but breathing, while the bride and groom and
their friends appeared as if in the full flush of joy.

Algini was about to speak in rapture of the performance when suddenly
the other curtain was drawn aside and a cry of horror burst from the
multitude as they pressed forward to behold it better. Van Deg gazed in
breathless wonder and Algini uttered a wild shriek of despair--"My

The picture represented Quentin's dream; each face in it was easy to
recognize, except that of the youth, which was buried in the bosom of
the bride. But before they had fully scanned it, it was thrust aside and
another appeared in its place. This represented a lonely arbour in which
Algini in his old age dangled a beautiful infant which bore a likeness
to Elzia, who sat on an opposite seat with her head resting on the bosom
of a young man, whose arm encircled her waist.

Every one was charmed and delighted beyond measure, and as they beheld
the youth, every tongue cried, "The Blacksmith!"


"Blacksmith no more," said Quentin, stepping from behind the canvas,
"but the artist who demands his reward."

It is unnecessary to say more than that genius was rewarded, and to the
happy husband Quentin Matsys, the Blacksmith of Antwerp, the world owes
some of the finest relics of art.




Long, very long before the city of Antwerp had attained the extent which
it now has, the milk-women, who supplied the city with this
indispensable liquid, met every morning in a public square, which was
soon designated by the name of "Marché-au-Lait" (Milk Market). These
women, like all business people at that time, belonged to a corporation
which had its rules, rights and privileges. They were too proud to serve
the "bourgeois" upon the steps of his door, so each servant was obliged
to go to their stands to buy milk.

The pump now situated in the Milk Market is a very pretty monument. It
is surmounted by a carved statuette representing a milk-woman, with the
peculiar brass milk can of the country upon her head. It is the history
of this statuette which we propose to relate.

There still exists on the Milk Market an old house, which is, one would
say, in nearly the same condition that it was three hundred years ago.
Like all the houses of that period (which are so faithfully represented
in the admirable paintings of the celebrated artist, Baron Leys) the
front is of wood, ornamented with carving in the Gothic style, one story
projecting over the other, and surmounted by a triangular gable. One
would think it had not undergone the slightest alteration since the day
it was built. The same small iron knocker hangs upon the old oaken door.
There is not the slightest doubt that the same stone forms the
threshold, it is so worn and polished; it was formerly a square but has
now become nearly a cylinder. The whole aspect of the house is so little
changed, that if the first person who dwelt in it should come back to
earth today he would easily recognize it. The interior as well as the
exterior is unaltered. There are the same straight somber stairs, the
same large fireplaces, and gilded leather upon the principal room. Not a
stone has been replaced, not a piece of wood removed. The repairs which
must have been made in the course of three hundred years, have only
served to retain everything in its original state. But what is still
more singular, the individuals who have successively occupied this
house, and their number must have been considerable, all resembled each
other, in their manners and morals. Was it accident, predestination, or
the unvarying aspect of the house, continually making the same
impression upon its inhabitants, which finally made them nearly
identical beings?

The present inhabitant is a basket maker, as was the first, three
centuries ago, and as have been all those who have occupied the house
between these two periods. They were from the first to the last, people
whose ideas were at least half a century behind the times. If we should
search the history of this antique dwelling, we should probably find
that the biography of one would answer for all. The basket maker who
occupied this house in 1530 was named Klaes Dewis--his wife Gertrude.
They were, as we have said, at least half a century behind, in their
manners, opinions and dress. His neighbours called him the man of the
good old times. Although possessed of a moderate fortune and without
children, he was such a miser that he would, as the Flemish saying is,
"split a match in four pieces," which is certainly the height of

A young peasant girl, fresh and blonde, with large blue eyes, and
picturesque costume, came every morning and placed herself before his
house, to sell the milk which she brought in a fine brass can, polished
like a mirror. The custom of seeing her a few hours every day had
gradually caused an affection between her and this worthy couple;
although in part based upon personal interest, still it was deep. As the
basket maker sometimes said, he had for Lyntje, (which was the name of
the pretty peasant), a paternal love, and as for Gertrude, his wife, she
said she loved her as she would a daughter.

When the weather was bad, if it rained or snowed, Dewis could not
display his baskets, which were usually installed at the door,
consequently Lyntje occupied their place and was sheltered from the
elements. When it was cold, she came from time to time to warm herself
in the kitchen. The milk girl was touched by these delicate attentions,
and showed it by giving good measure to Mother Dewis, who for one
_liard_ had often more milk than her neighbours for two. These agreeable
relations had existed for several years, when suddenly an unforeseen
event terminated them.

One morning in the month of August, 1530, Dewis did not see the young
peasant arrive at her accustomed hour. He waited until the middle of the
day before he put his baskets out, as it threatened to rain. Such a
thing had not happened since the day he first made her acquaintance.
Mother Dewis was so affected that she forgot to buy milk of another.
This gave her husband an opportunity of saying that the use of milk was
only a luxurious habit. But it made no impression upon his better half,
to whom the absence of Lyntje was a cause of great inquietude.

"Can she be sick?" she asked him with anxiety. But then she recalled her
robust constitution, her rosy cheeks, and dismissed that thought as

The next day no Lyntje. This was extremely grave, and their anxiety was
at its height. The basket maker was on the point of going out of the
city (which he had not done for perhaps twenty years) to the village
where Lyntje lived. He would have executed this design if his wife had
not observed to him, that he would gravely compromise the soles of his
shoes. This judicious remark caused him to postpone his excursion until
the next day. The next morning a countryman came to inform them of the
death of Lyntje. The poor girl had been taken ill and died the same
night. Before dying, she had remembered her friends in the city, and had
expressed the desire that some one would carry them the fatal news. The
basket maker and his wife, smitten in their dearest affection, wishing
to do something for the repose of her soul, formed the resolution that
they would never again use milk!


Several weeks had passed since the death of the generous milk girl, and
her old friends had not been able to recover the calm of their former
life. They seemed on the contrary to become more melancholy as the days
and weeks wore on after that unfortunate event. Instead of taking the
air upon their doorsteps and conversing with their neighbours, as they
had been in the habit of doing, they never sat there now, and had become
nearly invisible. They went regularly every morning to the cathedral,
where as exemplary Christians, they attended the first mass. Then they
had such a depressed air, the expression of their faces showed a grief
so bitter, that not an inhabitant of the market dared to speak to them.
When, however, one bolder than the others ventured to question them, he
obtained only a few syllables in response. The neighbours, who all felt
a great sympathy for them, would have been glad to console them. They
did not know what to think of such singular conduct, so contrary to all
their habits.

"I cannot believe that grief alone, for a friend like Lyntje, could
affect them to such a point," said Mynheer Schuermans, the plumber, one
day to his friend, Mynheer Dorekens, the baker upon the corner, who in
the morning came to chat with one or the other of his neighbours while
his last oven of bread was baking.

"It is true that they lost something," responded he, "because my wife
says so, and she is incapable of telling a falsehood. You know,
neighbour, Mother Dewis had more milk for her _liard_ than we for two."

"And have you noticed," said the wife of Schuermans, joining in the
conversation held before her door, "that Dewis completely neglects his
business? Only yesterday he forgot to put out his baskets when he
returned from the cathedral. They have not opened their door during the
day. It is thirty years since we have lived upon the market, and I
cannot remember such a thing to have happened. If it had rained--but
such superb weather. Is their business in a bad state? I do not think
so. He has money."

"What can it be?" said all three.

At the same instant the basket maker's door slowly opened, and he came
out with so much gravity, even solemnity, that the neighbours were
struck with astonishment and suddenly ceased their conversation. There
was reason for it. It was the middle of the week, notwithstanding which
he had on his Sunday suit, which at this time never occurred except upon
important occasions. To the friendly nod of his neighbours he responded
by a silent and melancholy salutation, and advanced with slow and
measured steps in the direction of a very fine mansion situated near the
cathedral. They watched him until he had reached the mansion.

"Myn Gott! what does that mean?" gasped the plumber, leaning towards
Dorekens, who was stupefied like himself. "I hope he is not going to
knock at that door. That will be"--but before he had time to finish his
sentence, Dewis already had the knocker in his hand, and let it fall
heavily. The blow made the attentive neighbours shudder, and had the
same effect upon their nervous systems as an electric shock.

"May all the saints come to aid us!" cried Schuermans. "How will this

"Has Gertrude had an attack of apoplexy?" exclaimed his wife.
"Then,"--But, before she could finish, the door in question had been
opened, and the basket maker had entered.

In order to understand the astonishment of the neighbours, it will
suffice to say that the mansion which Dewis had so audaciously entered
was the residence of the archbishop. As it was generally understood that
a person must be in an excessively critical position before daring to
address this high ecclesiastical functionary, one will easily understand
the impression upon the neighbours of such an important act upon the
part of the basket maker, who was generally known as rather a timid man.
We will leave them for a moment discussing their opinions, to follow
Dewis, but before all, we must make known to the reader the reasons
which had induced the basket maker to take such an important step.


It was hardly three days after the death of Lyntje, when one night they
were awakened by a strange noise, occasioned it seemed to them by some
one who had opened the door of their dwelling. They listened
attentively. Nothing! The clock of the cathedral was just striking.
They counted the strokes. As Dewis was preparing to rise, he heard the
cry of the watchman, "Midnight, and all is well," which convinced him
that he was deceived. An instant after, however, he thought he heard the
noise of some one slowly ascending the stairs which led to his room. He
sat up in bed, listened with anxiety, and tried to find an explanation
for these sinister and incomprehensible sounds. They became more and
more distinct, and approached nearer the door.

"Who is there?" cried Dewis, with a voice choking with fear.

No answer. A cold perspiration covered his body, his teeth chattered,
his eyes were distended, as he tried to pierce the darkness. Suddenly it
seemed to him that his door opened. He had no strength to cry out, but
waited more dead than alive. An icy wind penetrated the room, agitated
the curtains and swept across the face of Dewis. Sighs and sobs
commenced. What was it? Had it a form, a body? Was it a human being?
Dewis knew not, although he heard only too well the groans and sobs and
believed he distinguished steps, but he saw nothing, heard not a word,
not a syllable. Nevertheless the strange intruder, the spirit or ghost,
continued to moan. It advanced towards the bed, approached so near that
the sobs sounded almost in the ear of the terrified basket maker. Then
slowly it departed. Dewis heard it go out by another door beside his bed
and enter an adjoining room, where it continued to lament.

"Now what was this? An apparition, a specter, or simply the effect of an
hallucination?" he asked himself. Again he heard the same noises as
before. This time they resounded above him in the attic, then ceased,
and at last the house became silent. It will be superfluous to say that
after the departure of his frightful guest, he was in a pitiable state.
He did not dare to rise, and he could not sleep. The rising sun found
him terrified and overcome. As to his wife, she had immediately after
the first noise gone to sleep again. When her husband related to her
what he had heard she appeared incredulous, and did all in her power to
soothe and quiet him. She succeeded in partly convincing him that what
he believed to have heard was the result of tired and excited nerves.

But when the following night at the same hour the groans recommenced, he
had the presence of mind to awaken her. They both listened attentively.
Like the preceding night, the same sighs and sobs were heard, first
softly, then they seemed to enter the chamber, going out at the second
door and finishing in the attic. This time there was no doubting that
the apparition was real. What was to be done? The basket maker was a
member of the society instituted at the cathedral to perform rites for
the repose of souls, which gave him the privilege of joining in the
processions, covered with a mantle of black silk. He had ever been
animated with the laudable desire of delivering souls from purgatory,
and did not for a single instant doubt that this was some poor soul in
trouble, who had come to recommend himself to his powerful intervention.

But whose soul was this, and what body had it animated in this world?
The soul of Lyntje? That could not be. They prayed every day for her,
and had resolved to use no more milk, for the repose of the soul of this
very regretted friend.

We have said before that they attended regularly every morning the first
mass in the cathedral. In consequence of these reflections, they
resolved hereafter to hear two masses a day, the second for the soul in
trouble which had chosen their dwelling to manifest its desire to be
delivered from purgatory. They had a firm belief in the efficacy of
prayer, but unfortunately the masses failed to have any good result.
The apparition returned every night, the sighs and groans increased in
violence. At first, they were not discouraged, but soon lost confidence
in their prayers, and with that, courage. They slept no more and during
the days conversed only of the incredible events of the nights, and to
complete their sorrow, they dared not speak of it to any one for fear of
being called superstitious or visionary. It was not astonishing, then,
that the neighbours noticed a great change in the habits of Dewis. Both
he and Gertrude became more melancholy and grew thin and pale. Their
shop remained shut for days in succession. At last they concluded they
could no longer endure this state of things, and accordingly Dewis told
his wife that he was going to the archbishop to tell him of the affair,
notwithstanding the gossip such a step would give rise to. Far from
opposing, she applauded his design. And this is the reason why the
basket maker had dared dress himself up in his best suit to make this
visit, so well calculated to astonish his neighbours.

Admitted to the presence of this worthy ecclesiastic, he informed him
fully of the grave motives which had forced him to take this step. He
spoke to him of the remedies employed--the sprinkling of holy water,
prayers repeated with fervour, and long masses. He did not hide from
him that all this had been of no avail, which had occasioned in himself
and wife a certain lack of confidence in their pious practices. In
conclusion, he explained the nature of their relations with the deceased
milk girl.

The high dignitary listened with patience to the explanations and griefs
of the basket maker, and when he had finished made him a little sermon
upon his lack of faith in prayers and masses. He promised to come to his
house that evening, to see or at least to hear the specter, to exorcise
it, and to deliver the house from the obnoxious visitor. His words
filled the basket maker with great joy, and if he had not been
forbidden, he would have cried aloud in the street that the archbishop
was to honour him with a visit that evening. Thus on returning before
his neighbours his looks evinced so much joy and pride that Schuermans
and his wife, also Dorekens, were perhaps more puzzled than they were an
hour before at his profound sorrow.

The archbishop came in the evening to the dwelling of Dewis, and
remained very late at night. What did he? What saw he? What was his
opinion of the specter, and in what category of phantoms did he place
it? Did his prayers dissipate it? These are questions which it is
impossible for us to answer, as no one ever knew what transpired. But
tradition says that from that night the house of the basket maker was no
more troubled, and everything resumed its customary appearance. They
contented themselves with their morning mass, as formerly, and held
their usual conversations with their neighbours at the door.


But a few days hardly had passed after the visit of the archbishop when
one morning the Milk Market was in great commotion, all the inhabitants
formed in groups, men and women talking and gesticulating with

"Have you seen it? Have you heard it? What will become of us?" Such were
the interrogations which were heard from all. The answers appeared to
satisfy no one and only served to increase the general agitation. The
milk girls mixed with the groups, neglecting their business to listen
with astonishment to the interesting explanations of Schuermans and his
friends. It must have been something very grave, for the inhabitants of
the neighbouring streets came in crowds to learn the cause of the
disturbance. The sighs and groans which had so long troubled the old
basket maker and his wife had been driven from the dwelling of Dewis.
Immediately after midnight the specter had promenaded back and forth in
the streets, and each time that it passed, had stopped before the door
of its friends, and had filled the air with its lamentations. It
complained now in a more distinct manner, and cried frequently:--

"Half water! Half milk! Small measure! I have lost my soul!"

It was this the plumber heard, and his wife, and the baker and others.
But no one except Dewis could explain these exclamations. He could be
silent no longer. He called Schuermans and a few others, and confided to
them the secret of what had happened to him. They all agreed that it was
the soul of Lyntje alone which troubled the repose of the inhabitants.
If it was not, why had it always showed a marked predilection for the
house of Dewis? They now recollected that they had often had suspicions
of the colour of the liquid which Lyntje sold, and many housekeepers had
complained of the smallness of her measure, which applied so well to the
words of the ghost:--

"Half water! Half milk! Small measure!"

The following night the same cries and lamentations were heard. There
was no more sleep for those that dwelt on the Milk Market. Many of the
inhabitants decided to move immediately rather than continue to reside
in a street visited by specters and phantoms. They foresaw the time when
the market would present the appearance of an abandoned village--when,
happily, the plumber Schuermans had a brilliant idea. He proposed to
place upon the middle of the market a monument representing the material
form of the soul of Lyntje.

"It was," he said, "a sure remedy against invasions of specters, and had
been proved successful many times." He went on to explain the virtue of
this remedy. "Specters, it is well known, are souls which some crime or
sin obliges to wander over the earth until they can find some one who
will replace them in this world. A statue serves perfectly well as a
representative, and consequently produces the same effect."

Dewis then made known to them that the archbishop had counseled him to
erect a statue of the Holy Virgin. After long deliberations it was
resolved that they would place two statues at the expense of the
neighbourhood. Before the end of the week they set up both. The
statuette of Lyntje was placed over a well at the north of the market,
that of the Virgin at the south, near the dwelling of Dewis. It is
useless to add that from that day they have had no more trouble with

The legend explains the origin of the two images which are still to be
seen at the "Marché au Lait." Several years ago, when wells were
replaced by pumps, they put the statuette of the Milk Girl upon the top
of the pump. It is a veritable work of art, a jewel. We regret that the
name of the sculptor is unknown to us.



The line of the old Flemish principality ran from Antwerp southwest to
Courtrai, but today the line that divides the French and the Flemish
speaking Belgians runs due east and west, from Visé to Courtrai, with
Brussels midway in its course.

North of the line are the fertile plains and gardens, the busy cities
and the factories, of Flanders. Through them flows the Scheldt, the
river of commerce.

South of the line are the mines and the mountains, the foundries and the
forests, of Namur, Liège, Hainault, and the Ardennes. This is the
Walloon country, through which runs the Meuse, the river of romance.

In the north live the stolid, easy-going, devout Flemish peasantry,
while in the south are the lively, energetic, enterprising Walloons.
They are a larger people physically than their neighbours, more heavily
built, and of darker colouring, for there is a strain of Spanish blood
in their ancestry. Many Walloons came to America in the seventeenth
century, and we have had few immigrants of better stock. Showalter says
that the women are "famed for their industry, thrift, cleanliness,
capacity for hard work, and cheerfulness whatever their lot."

The country of the Meuse and the Sambre is by far the loveliest part of
Belgium. It abounds in myths and legends suited to the wild, romantic
scenery of its hills and valleys. It abounds also in the villas and
châteaux of the Belgian _noblesse_ and _haute bourgeoisie_. The wealthy
people of the cities delighted in their summers among the mountains of
the Ardennes, while many families of ancient lineage but lesser fortunes
lived the year round in their old-world houses.

Some of the châteaux were of exceptional beauty. Our trip to Beloeil,
the seat of the de Ligne family, will never be forgotten, for it was the
finest château in Belgium. His Highness the Prince de Ligne had asked us
out to luncheon, and we started about nine, motoring out toward Hal and

It was a bright, sunny day, and the country rolled away on every side,
checkered with its crops in varying stages of ripeness into fields of
green and orange and lemon and brown. The roadside was flecked with
red poppies and blue cornflowers, and quaint farmhouses dotted the
landscape. We passed deep forests, too, with glimpses of old châteaux
through the vistas.

[Illustration: _A Village in the Ardennes_]

At Hal there was a lovely old church, with a Virgin famous for miracles.
We stopped and went in; choir boys were singing antiphonally, and there
was a sweet smell of incense and a soft, religious light.

At Enghien there was a château which was favoured with a fairy
_protectrice_, no less than Melusine, so famous in song and story. Long,
long ago she married a mortal, Comte Raymond de Forêt, and raised for
him a castle which she never ceased to guard. Always before the death of
a member of the family "_la fée Melusine apparaît sur la terrasse du
château_." The Luxembourgs and other noble families changed their
pedigrees in order that they might claim descent from fairy Melusine.

Of lower degree but even greater service were the fairies who dwelt
aforetimes in a cave at Arquenne. The good folk of the neighbourhood
used to leave their soiled linen there of an evening, with some food. In
the morning they would return to find that the "little people" had done
their work and left the clothes all clean and white.

After passing numberless quaint and picturesque villages we came at
length to the gates of the park behind which stood the château of
Beloeil, with its courtyard and inclosing wings. We followed the road
lined with orange trees and crossed a bridge over the moat into the
broad court with the façade of the house on three sides. Footmen lined
the steps as we mounted into the cool vestibule, from which we passed
through various rooms into the handsome salons.

The house was a museum of valuable and historic things--_potiches_,
curios and rare furniture. On the walls were great pictures representing
scenes in the story of the de Lignes, and presentation portraits of
kings and queens.

Through the windows we could see the wide moat outside, and the English
garden opposite with its beds of brilliant flowers and its background of
trees and foliage. Soon after luncheon we went out into the sunny glare
and the great heat of the open terraces, and crossed into the cool
alleys of the French garden.

A great lagoon opposite the main terrace was continued in a vista
through the forest off to the horizon, broken by a monumental sculpture
which was reflected in the water. The wood was divided formally by
alleys leading to some architectural or natural detail, and open glades
were arranged with pools, while a little rivulet, made artificially
natural, went winding through the woods with a pretty path alongside.

The Prince permitted the greater part of the garden and park to be used
by the people of his little town, but Beloeil was so out of the way
that strangers never went there. I use the past tense, because the
château has been razed to the ground since the war began. I also learn
that two members of the de Ligne family have been killed.

In order to carry out our plans we had to leave Beloel in the heat of
the early afternoon. Motoring out again across the rolling landscape we
came to Mons, passing on the way through some of the de Croÿ properties
and forests. This region is the great coal-mining district, the
Borinage, and the beauty of the scenery is rather spoiled by the huge,
conical mountains of the detritus which is brought out of the mines, and
by the black, sooty look of things.

Mons was a dull, quiet old town, rather picturesque in its way, with its
old church and belfry crowning the hill. As we came out of the church
the chime of bells in the tower musically rang the hour, sounding
sweetly in the sleepy silence of the place. The stillness has since been
broken by other sounds than those, for Mons figured largely in the
battle of the Meuse.

From there we were off once more to visit the ruins of the old château
of Havré, once the stronghold and residence of the de Croÿ family. It
rose high out of a stagnant moat, all gray and pinkish, with irregular
architecture and a tall tower with a bulbous top. From this rose the
cross of Lorraine, for the de Croÿs quartered their arms with this great
family. The château was quite stately and magnificent, and its
courtyard, all grass-grown, must have seen fine sights in its day.

Not far from Mons is Binche, a town celebrated for its carnival held on
Mardi-Gras--the festival of the Dancing Gilles. In spite of the fact
that it has always been a source of much pride to the Belgians, its only
unique feature was that of the Gilles, which distinguished it from other

These Gilles, or dancing men, were characterized by their headdress and
humps. The former was most striking and elaborate, resembling in shape
the old top-hat of our great-grandfathers, and surmounted with
magnificent ostrich feathers three or four feet long, giving the
wearers the stature of giants. From each hat, besides, flowed wide,
variegated ribbons. The trousers of a Gille were bedecked with trimmings
of real lace, and ribbons matching those on the hat. About the waist was
a silk belt from which hung small bells. Each Gille wore a mask.

The entire outfit cost from forty to fifty dollars, which was a large
sum for the peasant youths who were generally chosen by the carnival
committee. But the honour of being a Gille was so great, since only good
dancers could be selected, and carried with it such prestige among the
local damsels, that the young men were only too pleased to make the
necessary financial sacrifice.

On the afternoon of Mardi-Gras the Gilles, in full uniform and preceded
by the local brass bands and musical clubs, appeared in procession and
marched, two hundred strong, to the Grande Place, dancing to the music
of the band. At every few steps they stopped, bending this way and that
to make the bells at their waist ring more effectively. Their streamers
floated to and fro with every motion, enveloping them in a rainbow of
ribbon. The simultaneous ringing of bells and thumping of wooden sabots
on the cobblestones sounded like the echo of a cavalry charge.

Each Gille had a straw basket hanging from one side of his belt and
filled with oranges, with which he bombarded the spectators as he danced
along, men appointed for the purpose following close behind to see that
the baskets were kept filled. A general battle of oranges between Gilles
and carnival merrymakers ensued, lasting till the procession reached the
town hall. In front of this, on a platform, sat the mayor and his
officials, and here the Gilles terminated the day's festivities by a
sort of war dance which gave them a chance to show what they could do.

The public joined in the fun, and soon thousands of persons--men, women
and children--were gaily waltzing around the Grande Place. The sight of
an entire population in carnival costume and masked, dancing in the open
air to the music of the bands, was not one to be easily forgotten. The
sport continued till late evening, when it was brought to an end by the
mayor, who formally awarded a gold medal to the Gille who had proved
himself the most expert dancer of them all.

From Binche we motored on again, calling on Prince Henri de Croÿ's
cousins who lived in the château of Le Roeulx, where Prince Henri
himself had been born and brought up. Part of this house dates from 1100
A.D., and after its destruction in succeeding wars was rebuilt and added
to repeatedly. For six centuries the de Croÿs have lived there without a

[Illustration: PRINCE HENRI DE CROŸ.]

In passing through a small town one came suddenly on its gate and saw
the wide-standing façade of the château facing across the terraces of
the park. Inside there was a Gothic vestibule, and the rooms stretching
into the wings were old-fashioned and interesting, some of them with old
Chinese paper on the walls. On the rear side, towards the park, the
ground fell away abruptly, so that the building seemed to stand very
high, and one looked out over the tops of the trees of the forest. The
living room was, strangely enough, at the top of the house, and was
approached by a great double stairway with very old carved balustrades
and paneling.

Of still a different type was Ophem, the seat of the de Grunne family.
The château was very quaint and pretty, an old monastery with a simple,
vine-covered façade surrounding a little flower-bordered and parterred
garden with a high balustraded wall at one side, shaded by overhanging
trees. The front had been added at a later time and was quite rococo in
style, with many heavy moldings. This looked out over a terrace with a
bit of park sloping down to a lagoon. Flowers in formal beds and rows
gave colour everywhere. Near by was a dear little chapel with a statue
in a niche outside; we were told that the niche had been designed by the
Comtesse de Flandre.

After tea we set off for home, scooting down towards Wavre and Perwez,
through the land of Brabant. From the broken, hilly country we dropped
gradually back among the rolling fields once more, all aglow with their
crops, through the tree-lined avenues of the Forêt de Soignes, and so
into Brussels.

The château life was not one of gaiety--in fact, I think perhaps most of
us would have considered it rather dull. There was some riding on
horseback, walking, and a little tennis, but on the whole not very much
outdoor exercise. Some one has said that "they raised the habit of doing
nothing in the open air to the level of a science."

The chief interest of the men was shooting and hunting. On many of the
properties the game was carefully preserved. When the season opened,
château life became for the time quite gay, with _déjeuners de chasse_
and _dîners_ _de chasse_, lively reunions of the fashionable set. They
hunted foxes and hares, and a few kept packs of hounds. Over the border
in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, where some Belgians held property, the
wild boar was occasionally hunted.

As the Belgians are nearly all musical, the children of the family were
taught to play various instruments, and the evenings were passed
pleasantly enough, some member of the group singing while others played
the piano, 'cello, or violin.

In the Ardennes country the houses were often near enough for frequent
calls and visits, made in the late afternoon when all would assemble
round the tea table. The quiet days were rarely broken by even the
smallest excitement. These families certainly passed from one extreme to
the other during the early months of the war.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another motor trip took us somewhat farther afield, by Liège and Spa
into the Ardennes, and back through Dinant and Namur. This is the
Belgium of the Middle Ages, of Emperor Charlemagne and all his kin, of
wars, and of wonders without end. Even its once famous watering place we
found a thing of the past and not out of harmony with the legendary
land round about.

Liège is the capital of the Walloon district, and with its dozen strong
fortresses was, with Namur, considered the chief defense of the Meuse
valley. Namur was supposed to block the road between France and
Brussels, while Liège was to fend off Germany from the Belgian capital.
It commands all the roads from Germany, indeed it was the door to
Belgium which, once forced open, left the whole country at the mercy of
the invaders. In ten days from its fall, the government officials
removed from Brussels to Antwerp, later to Ostend, and finally to Havre.
In a fortnight the Germans had hewn their way to Charleroi. Liège as we
saw it had about two hundred thousand inhabitants, and was beautifully
placed on a high bluff overlooking the river, with hills and fertile
valleys surrounding it.

Not far from there is the ancient little town of Jupille, which they say
is haunted by the shade of Pepin the Short, who lived there long ago.
They still showed one the ruins of an old mill at the lower end of the
village where Pepin's wife, Bertha of the Big Foot, took refuge from her
irate lord on the occasion of some misunderstanding between them.

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF LIÈGE.]

This Bertha was the mother of the great Charlemagne and lived to a ripe
old age, coming down to us as the heroine of many legends. It is claimed
that her famous son was born in this same village of Jupille, although
this is much disputed. The author of "La Meuse Beige" suggests that the
Emperor may have been born in a carriage or at some village inn, for
"Pepin his father constantly found himself on the high roads about 742,
and Bertha his mother was obliged, like the honest woman she was, to go
from one place to another to meet her lord."

At Liège we crossed the river, with its pretty embankments and bridges,
into the more hilly country, climbing up winding roads that followed the
ravines and streams, into higher places where the air was fresh and
fragrant. Some of the towns through which we passed had a really Alpine
look. Finally we turned into the long avenue which led us into Spa.

This pretty town, so famous as the first watering place in Europe, and
for a long time the most fashionable, was deadly quiet that warm summer
afternoon. On the terraces of the casino there was not a soul to be
seen, and only two or three forlorn-looking drinkers at the
spring-house. Even the promenades were empty.

We thought it might be the hour when people were resting, so later we
fared forth to see the gaieties of which we had heard so much. This time
we found half a dozen others walking aimlessly up and down the streets.
At dinner, silence reigned. In the evening we tried our best to cheer
up, and went to the casino where a few persons were scattered about the
auditorium listening to music. This seemed to be the height of the
season at Spa, whose name has come into our language as a synonym for
gaiety and relaxation.

So we got away next morning and ran up a long, steep, splendid road on
to fine rolling uplands that waved away like the Bohemian Highlands,
with lovely views in the blue distance. We were some fifteen hundred
feet up, and the air was very refreshing as we sped along. Now and then
we dipped again into valleys with wooded slopes and ravines with
palisades. We were in the real Ardennes country, the famous "Forest of
Arden" of "As You Like It," which was sung by Ariosto a century or so
before that.

In this region was the church of St. Hubert, to which peasants made
Christian pilgrimage. Under the choir was a crypt where they knelt. A
thread from the stole of the ancient saint was said to have had the
power to cure hydrophobia, if aided by cauterization. But more easily,
"one may prevent hydrophobia by carrying on the finger a ring or wearing
a medal which has touched the relics of the saint; also by eating or
making one's animals eat the blessed bread of St. Hubert." This bread is
given chiefly to dogs, I believe.

We ran by picturesque La Roches and Rochefort, with fine smooth roads
following the beds of little rivers in the valleys and climbing in
zigzags the low mountains till we came, about one o'clock, to Han. Here
we went at once, of course, to the Grottes de Han, which were very
popular with tourists. It was an experience worth having. We passed
through endless passages, grotesque and beautiful with stalactites and
stalagmites, the varied effects well lighted by electricity. The finest
thing, most terrible and impressive, was the Salle du Dome, where the
black shadows were lost in the immensity of the vault. It is a cavern
four hundred feet high and more than that in breadth, with a sort of
mountain of broken boulders up which winds a path into the dusky gloom
and blackness of the upper regions. But I must say it was more
suggestive of the lower regions than the upper, especially when a guide
with a flaring torch climbed and climbed, disappearing behind cliffs of
darkness and reappearing on precipices till he stood at last, a tiny
figure far above us, in Satan's Pulpit, and lighted a fire that seemed
to burn in another world.

Later we came to the banks of the subterranean river that flows through
the mountain, and got into boats. As we floated down, the vaults
reëchoed the singing of our fellow-travelers. But presently we saw ahead
of us the light of day, peering in through the end of the cave, and
slipped out--into the rain.

The car met us there, so we were able to get away again quickly. Off
once more over the fine roadways, we passed Ciergnon, the summer château
of the King, on its high bluff overlooking the vast landscape. Through
more broken country we came down into the valley of the Meuse at Dinant,
then one of the most picturesque places in Europe. Its palisades and
striking cliff formations were crowned with ruined castles, like a
miniature Rhine. The city has since been destroyed.

The abbey of Waulsort, which became a château, was at one bend of the
river. According to tradition, it was founded by Count Eilbert in the
reign of Louis IV--about the middle of the tenth century. The Count went
one day to a fair in Picardie, and there he saw a horse which was
much to his liking. He had no money with him, but offered the priest who
owned the animal his beautiful graven beryl as a pledge till he could
send home for funds. The priest accepted the offer and gave him the
horse, but when the Count returned with the money he denied that he had
the jewel or had so much as seen the Count before in all his life. In a
fury Eilbert collected his men-at-arms and attacked the city where dwelt
the forgetful cleric, sacking and destroying it, even to the church.
Then his anger cooled, and he regretted his hasty vengeance. As a sign
of penitence he not only rebuilt the church, but erected the abbey also.

[Illustration: _Château de Waulsort on the Meuse_]

Just down the river from Waulsort is the cave of Freya, near a château
of the same name. The cavern is not large but is very beautiful, with
shining white stalactites, pointed columns piercing lofty vaults, and
jeweled cascades. One of its chambers has an opening in the roof which
lets in the daylight. Some young men who were anxious to avoid the
conscription of the Empire are said to have let themselves down into
this cave by means of ropes. They lived there for some time, cooking by
a small fire whose smoke blackened the walls of the cave, as you can
still see. They were contented to stay quite close to this one room,
without much exploration, and it remained for a dog to really discover
what lay beyond.

The dog was a small one, and in chasing a fox he followed it through a
hole in the earth and into the farther depths of the cave. Hearing his
barks reëchoing weirdly, the hunters enlarged the opening which he had
found and followed him into the series of halls and galleries which make
up the cavern. On the walls are traces of pagan ceremonies which lead
scholars to believe that the place was used in ancient times for the
worship of the goddess Freya, who was the patron of love and liberty in
the Scandinavian mythology.

Speeding along the river toward Dinant we came to the famous Rock of
Bayard, a tall pinnacle split off from the main cliff, with the road
passing through a narrow gorge between. It has been renowned since the
days of Charlemagne, when Bayard, the enchanted horse, with the four
sons of Aymon clinging to his back, leaped across the chasm in mad
flight from the vengeance of the Emperor. As one of the brothers was no
less than sixteen feet in height, and the other three nearly as tall, it
was really something of an achievement.

But Bayard was a very remarkable animal. The sons of Aymon had received
him as a gift from their cousin Maugis, along with an excellent sword
named Flamberge, whose very wind would cut off a man's head. It seems
that this Maugis had heard of a wonderful steed reared on an island in
the Meuse and kept there by a giant named Rouart. So he went over and
called on the giant, telling him stories till he fell fast asleep. Then
he set out to find the horse, which he soon discovered in a cavern
stable guarded by a dragon. With no other weapon than a fork, Maugis
slew the monster. When Bayard came forward to see what was going on, the
young man asked politely if he might mount him. As the horse made no
objection, Maugis mounted and rode him down to his boat.

[Illustration: ROCK OF BAYARD, DINANT.]

After many adventures, Bayard and the four sons of Aymon were all
captured by Charlemagne, who pardoned the young men on condition that
the eldest should make a pilgrimage beyond the seas and free his horse
before he went.

But the older brother was hardly out of sight when the Emperor ordered
Bayard brought to a bridge across the Meuse for his inspection. "Ah,
Bayard," said he, "you have plagued me many times, but I have you now!"
With that he had a great stone fastened about the horse's neck and the
animal thrown into the river. When he saw that Bayard sank to the bottom
he cried out, "I have nothing more to ask. Finally he is destroyed!" But
Charlemagne rejoiced too soon, for the horse struck off the weight, rose
to the surface, and set out for shore. There he shook himself, gave a
loud neigh, and was off at top speed for the sheltering depths of the
forests of the Ardennes, where, they tell you, he still lives to this

Of Dinant so much has been written that there is little new to be said.
In the Middle Ages it was famous for the work of its brass and copper
smiths, and for its cakes. These were made of a sort of gingerbread and
were often celebrated in song. One rime tells of the plight of the
bakers who, in their anxiety to entertain properly the governor of their
province, made in his honour a cake so large that the biggest oven in
town was a foot too small to hold it.

Because of its odd Latin inscription, the bridge of Dinant has also been
much sung. Says one of the ditties:

    "Although the bridge of Dinant is a fine bridge of stone,
      Its beautiful inscription is finer still, I own.
    'Tis writ in perfect Latin, so read and do not jeer:
      'Hic pons confectus est'--it was built, you see, right here!"

All around Dinant it is a storied land. There was, for instance, the cow
of Ciney, who made quite a stir in her day. It happened in the year of
our Lord 1274, when the counts of Luxembourg and Namur were holding
tournament at Andenne, and all the knights for leagues around had come
flocking to show their prowess in feats of arms. Into the throngs
gathered to watch the spectacle came a peasant, leading behind him the
cow of cows. "He knew that after the heroic strife the contestants were
accustomed to eat largely, and however much their glory, nothing was so
comforting as a quarter of roast beef. Consequently he brought to sell
to the butchers of Andenne a cow, superb and without faults, save for a
slight blemish which did not in the least detract from the savour of the
meat--she was not really the property of the young man, for he had
stolen her."

The cow belonged by rights to a good bourgeois of Ciney whose name was
Rigaud. As it happened, he was in the crowd and recognized his property.
Finding near him the sheriff of his town he stated his case and demanded
instant justice on the robber. Now the sheriff was out of his own
province, and had no authority to act. So he engaged the young man in
conversation and led him artfully out of Andenne till they had crossed
the boundaries of his own territory. Once there it was, of course, a
very simple matter to seize him and hang him by the neck till he was

But the matter did not end there, in spite of the good sheriff's
precautions. The peasant was not a native of either Ciney or Andenne,
but of the village of Jallet. His fellow villagers considered themselves
affronted, and complained to their overlord. He was more than
affronted--he was positively outraged. Summoning his vassals he set
forth to Ciney for the purpose of sending to its long rest the soul of
the sheriff thereof. Ciney, however, closed its gates and sent to its
brother towns for aid. Jallet likewise called upon its friends and laid
siege to Ciney. The Duke of Brabant became involved in the war that
followed, along with the counts of Flanders, Namur and Luxembourg. The
Marshal of Liège invaded the Ardennes with fire and flame.

Presumably the cow of Ciney returned to her master's home on the night
of her abductor's death. But for more than two years the war on her
behalf was waged, and fifteen or twenty thousand men were killed. At
last the King of France was called in to settle the dispute, and the
weary disputants accepted his verdict thankfully enough. It was to the
effect that each side being equally to blame, they must bear their own
losses and leave things as they were before the war--so far as they
could. Thus ended "_la guerre de la vache de Ciney_."

Beyond Dinant lies the little village of Bouvignes, whose ruined tower
of Crève-Coeur has its story, too. In the sixteenth century the French
laid siege to the place, which was an important town at that time. Among
its defenders were three men of Namur whose beautiful wives had followed
them to the front, fighting always at their sides like Amazons. When
they saw their lords fall dying before them and realized that the enemy
was making the last assault, they climbed to the top of the tower and,
joining hands, threw themselves upon the rocks below.

There have been forts in Namur since Roman days, and perhaps before
that. A year ago there were nine, for the city with its thirty thousand
inhabitants stands at the junction of the two rivers, Sambre and Meuse.
Namur was the door to France, and the nine forts were its bolts and
bars. On the 22d of August the Germans attacked it, and the next day the
French, who had come to its defense, were forced to withdraw, defeated.

Namur as we saw it was a busy and prosperous town. The Sambre is a water
route to the Borinage, and the Meuse a financial asset to any city. Its
streets were wide, with many parks. One feature made it specially
attractive--on the lamp-posts hung circular baskets just beneath the
light, filled with flowers and hanging vines.

Not far from Namur is the old hermitage of St. Hubert, clinging to a
rocky cliff. There, in the Middle Ages, it was customary to illustrate
Bible stories by the use of marionettes, small wooden figures which
moved about the stage at the will of the monks. They were capable of
acting out before the eyes of the marveling country folk the story of
the Passion, of the cock that crowed thrice, and the penitence of Peter,
stirring sluggish imaginations to renewed devotion. "At the right,
against the wall, you see a table. There, you should remember, rested
the scaffolding in the midst of which was played the Passion. From the
opening below, the man of God pulled the strings of the machine.... The
man of God was the hermit, at once the author of the actors and of the
piece, and impressario of the troop which he had made with his own

Such was the Walloon country, as we saw it in our journeyings. It was
our last trip in Belgium, for my husband received word that he had been
named Ambassador to Japan. So we packed up our things and sadly said
good-by to all the friends who had been so kind to us. Little did we
think that there was soon to be war, and that many of them we should
never see again.


But Belgium has been through many wars before this, many sieges and
sackings and burnings, so we can feel sure that the spell of its
enchantment will survive the gray wave of soldiers which has swept
across the land during these last sad months.





     Last night, when the half moon was golden and the white stars
     very high, I saw the souls of the killed passing. They came
     riding through the dark, some on gray horses, some on black;
     they came marching, white-faced; hundreds, thousands, tens of

     The night smelled sweet, the breeze rustled, the stream
     murmured; and past me on the air the souls of the killed came
     marching. They seemed of one great company, no longer enemies.

     _John Galsworthy._

We were in America when the war broke out. It was as unexpected to me as
an earthquake, notwithstanding the warning I had when we were in
Brussels. Not knowing the situation then--that war was bound to come--I
remember my interest in the excitement of several diplomats who dined
with us one evening. They knew that trouble was brewing among the
European nations. They could see the spark from the fuse of the bomb
that was to throw all Europe into war. The bomb at last exploded, but
not until June 28, 1914. The Servians in revenge for Austrian oppression
killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, when
he and his wife were in Sarajevo, Servia, on an official visit.

Two of the principal events leading up to this situation were the
assassination of King Alexander of Servia, son of King Milan and Queen
Draga, in June, 1903, and the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by
Austria in 1908.

Under King Peter, Alexander's successor, Russian dominance over Servian
affairs grew stronger.

When the heir to the Austrian throne was murdered the German Emperor
sent a telegram to the Czar which read:--

     "The unscrupulous agitation which has gone on for years in
     Servia has led to the revolting crime of which Archduke Francis
     Ferdinand was the victim. Undoubtedly you will agree with me
     that we two, you and I, as well as all sovereigns, have a
     common interest in insisting that all those morally responsible
     for this terrible murder shall suffer deserved punishment."

The Servian and Austrian governments could not come to an understanding,
and Austria declared war on Servia.

In answer to the Kaiser's telegram the Czar replied:--

     "A disgraceful war has been declared on a weak nation. The
     indignation at this, which I fully share, is immense in Russia.
     I foresee that soon I cannot withstand the pressure that is
     being brought to bear upon me, and that I shall be forced to
     adopt measures which will lead to war."

So it developed that Russia backed up Servia, and Germany backed up

     [10] The best authorities, of course, on the causes of
     the war are:
       The English White Paper
       The German White Book
       The Belgian Gray Book
       The Russian Yellow Book
       The Austrian Red Book
       The French Yellow Book

Germany needed to expand her territory and commerce and was thoroughly
prepared for war. At that time Germany, Austria and Italy were in a
Triple Alliance; Russia, France and England a Triple Entente; Italy
refused to aid Germany and Austria, however, because she was not bound
by her treaty to do so in an offensive war. She was humorously classed
with Greece and Roumania in "the triple attendre," but on May 22, 1915,
she joined the Allies, declaring war on Austria.

One of Germany's excuses in entering upon the war was to keep the
"barbarian Russians" out of Europe, but curiously, at this time King
Albert received an ultimatum from the Kaiser demanding that the German
army should be given the right of way through Belgium. The King replied
that the Kaiser must respect the independence and neutrality of Belgium,
and refused to let the Germans pass through the country. A second
ultimatum was delivered, which demanded that a reply be given within
seven hours. If within this time no answer was returned, or an answer
unfavourable to Germany, war would be declared.

On August 2d the Germans entered the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. On the
3d they entered Belgium.

The statement made by the Imperial Chancellor von Bethman-Hollweg in the
Reichstag on August 4th acknowledges the violation of Belgium:[11]

     [11] From the German White Book.

"We were compelled to over-ride the just protests of the Luxembourg and
Belgian governments. Our troops have occupied Luxembourg and perhaps are
already on Belgian soil. Gentlemen, that is a breach of international
law. It is true that the French Government has declared at Brussels that
France is willing to respect the neutrality of Belgium so long as her
opponent respects it. France could wait, but we could not. The wrong--I
speak frankly--that we are committing we will endeavour to make good as
soon as our military goal has been reached."

The Germans motored into Belgium by three different roads. Fifteen
hundred picked soldiers came in advance in one hundred and fifty
automobiles. The army followed at such speed that their commissariat
could not keep up with them, and they did not even wait for their heavy
siege guns. They expected to live on the country, and so some straggling
parties of German soldiers were captured by peasants with an offer of

The charming little border town of Visé was the first to be destroyed by
the Germans. "This district contains a large population of gun-makers
familiar with the use of firearms and unfamiliar with the ways of
warfare, and it seems proven that several citizens of Visé did take part
in the hostilities and that they fired at the enemy. The Germans
retaliated with ruthless severity."[12]

     [12] From "How Belgium Saved Europe," by Dr. Charles
     Sarolea--as is much of the following.

Among the weaknesses in the defense of Liège were the lack of
sufficient soldiers to man the forts, and the long distances between the
different fortresses, as well as the lack of support by rifle
entrenchments. The fortresses did not prove impregnable because they
were built to withstand a horizontal fire, while the German howitzers
dropped shells from above. The three German army corps under General von
Emmich made attack after attack. On the third day they lost twenty-five
thousand men, some of the crack regiments from Berlin suffering heavily.
The forts held out long after the town was occupied by the Germans for
the reason that they were built to defend the river approaches rather
than the town, and until August 5th the Germans were unable to cross the

It was difficult for the Germans to get the proper range for their big
guns, and the story is told that a German soldier with a white flag of
truce walked towards a fort in order to get the correct distance. His
white flag was respected until he arrived at a spot where he signaled
back to his comrades. It is needless to say that he was then killed.
From the moment when the Germans were able to get the proper range with
their heavy siege artillery, the fate of Liège was sealed. Toward the
end of August, all the forts were occupied by the Germans.

"The resistance of Liège is not only one of the most magnificent
achievements in military annals;--it is also one of the decisive events
in the world's history."

It has already been the inspiration of much poetry and prose. The
following extract is taken from the poem called,

           "HOW LIÈGE HELD THE ROAD"[13]

    We were pounding at the anvils when they pounded at our gate;
    "Open," cried the German squadrons; "let us pass, or meet your fate!
    We are millions; dare deny us and Liège is but a name."
    But we chose to die in honour than to buy our lives in shame.
    So we banked our eager fires, and we laid aside the sledge,
    Recking only that our sires had endowed us with the pledge
    To maintain an ally's honour, to uphold the Belgian code,
    And we answered with our cannon, THAT LIÈGE WOULD HOLD THE ROAD!

     [13] From the volume of poems entitled "The Song of
     the Guns," by Herbert Kaufman.

Here are a few of Verhaeren's remarks on the fall of Liège:

"It is true that for the moment our factories are silenced and seemingly
dead, but as soon as the war is over they will awake again like
sleeping monsters. We were a little too sure of the tomorrow. War in our
eyes was other people's business. It has come to us, formidable and
terrible, at a moment when we did not look for it; like a mountain whose
crumbling rocks are falling upon us to crush us William's army has come
upon us. Our numbers were small and we stood alone. We were attacked
with disloyalty and betrayal. We hastily raised our forces at Liège in
old forts. All that was done in a day, in an hour, in a moment, and at
once we became the marvel of the world. The fate of the Spartans was
like that of the Liègeois. Today, as then, a handful of men saved the
world. We should have only room in our hearts for pride. Tears dishonour

[Illustration: _Citadel, Namur_]

Namur, another great stronghold of Belgium, was bombarded on August
21st, and thirty-six hours later the Germans entered the town. When the
forts were destroyed only twelve thousand out of the twenty-six thousand
Belgian soldiers were left. Ammunition was so scarce in this region that
the Civic Guard had to give up their weapons to the remaining Belgian
troops. The French and the British as well suffered a terrible defeat at
Charleroi August 22d, and were obliged to retire. Fighting all the way,
they made their masterly retreat through Mons into France by way of St.

Between the fifth and twentieth of August the poor wounded and dying
soldiers were brought into Brussels. When the crowd in the streets
shrieked and howled "Vive la Belgique!" the wounded tried to wave their
arms (those who had them), and show some sign of appreciation. Houses
were opened and prepared by the Red Cross Society to receive them. The
refugees as well, from Charleroi and Liège, and from the districts where
the fighting was going on, rushed to Brussels for protection, but the
Germans were close behind and entered the city on August 20th without
firing a shot.

At the beginning of the war hardly any food was to be had in Brussels
and other Belgian towns, and what could be bought went up to very high
prices. Flour cost fifty cents a pound, and bread one franc for two
pounds. Salt was not obtainable.

Adolphe Max, the Burgomaster of Brussels, was forced to take charge of
all supplies. The city fed the Germans for eight days without pay. After
this period the Mayor refused to furnish food longer without
compensation. Then field kitchens were established in several prominent
squares--in the Grande Place, before the Palais de Justice, and in front
of the King's palace--where the beautiful trees of the park were cut
down for firewood. The museums and hotels were turned into sleeping
places for officers and men. The Palais de Justice was made not only a
kitchen but also a bath house. The railway stations, too, were used for
this purpose.

No carriages or bicycles were allowed to leave Brussels. The people
lived in constant terror from German aëroplanes that were flying
overhead. After the Germans occupied the city no one dared to speak

The Germans thought that Belgian weapons were hidden in the ponds, and
so they drained them, and carted away the fish to be eaten by
themselves. Fish and bread could not be bought by the people, even if
they offered to pay for them.

Every day fresh troops and aëroplanes and ammunition passed through or
over Brussels. Cartloads and trainloads of dead Germans were brought
night and day to the Gare du Luxembourg to be shipped on to the
Fatherland. The moaning of the wounded and the dying was pitiful.

Non-combatants of all nations fighting the Germans were taken prisoners
and sent to Germany. All women between the ages of fifteen and forty
were kept under German guard; those over forty were told to report every
few days to the German authorities.

Villages like Hofstade and Sempst were taken and retaken again and
again. Dinant and Termonde fell within a week after the occupation of
Brussels. The bombardment of Malines lasted three weeks. Termonde
changed hands twice, Malines three times.

The siege of Antwerp began the 26th and lasted several days. The
Zeppelin raid before the bombardment was most terrible, but the Germans
did not accomplish their purpose of striking the palace and killing the
royal family. After this, the Queen went to England for a time with her
children, returning later, but the King remained in Antwerp and led the

The small Belgian force had at least kept the Germans out of Antwerp
until the valuable oil tanks had been destroyed, as well as the ships in
the harbour and the precious stores of rubber from the Congo. The
English marines appeared toward the last, and gave some assistance, but
the city was finally captured by the Germans, before whom, on
September 5th, the Belgian army retired to La Panne. Ostend was occupied
by the Germans the 16th of October. Severe fighting took place at
Nieuport the 23d, and Westende and Middelkerke were destroyed. Dixmude
fell November 11th. Between the 12th and the 15th, 100,000 Germans were
killed, and the Yser Canal flowed with human blood.

[Illustration: _Nieuport_]

November 18th, Flanders, as in days of old, was flooded from the
sea-coast almost to Ypres, drowning out the enemy. In December,
activities were renewed along the Yser, but the trenches about Ypres,
"the key to the coast campaign," were only captured February 15th. Ypres
at last fell in May, after repeated attacks.

The exodus of a bleeding race was one of the saddest sights in history.
The Belgians literally swarmed into Holland, where they are cared for in
camps even today. The reason of this exodus to England and Holland is
found in the treatment of the Belgians by the invaders. I will not go
into the subject of atrocities, but simply give an extract from the
report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Violation of the Rules of
International Law, and the Laws and Customs of War.

"From the total mass of evidence received by us we are able to deduct
and prove absolutely true the following conclusions....

"I. The first was the barbarous device of compelling bodies of citizens,
old and young, male and female, to march in front of German troops in
order to shield them from the fire of the Allies.

"II. The second was the imprisonment, either under the title of
'Hostages,' or on other pretexts, of individuals, families, or groups of
people, who were arrested at hazard and for no good reason, shut up
without air, without sanitary precautions, and without food, in
churches, barns and stables, and carried off to Germany, where they were
kept under conditions which made hygiene and decency impossible.

"III. The third series of acts consists of wholesale murders of
civilians and of the sack and burning of dwelling houses; concerning
these incidents the light of evidence grows daily stronger."

These men were in command when the atrocities were perpetrated: The
Governor-General of Belgium was Field Marshal Baron von der Goltz; von
Buelow was in command of Namur and Liège; von Boehn was in command at
Termonde. Others in this list were von Emmich, von Nieker, von
Luetwitz, and Major Dieckmann.

But the Belgians are a brave people and they are used to misfortune, so
we may believe that though seemingly conquered, they will finally be
triumphant. Long live the Belgians! Long live their King!



I insert a few extracts from letters written by reliable people about
Belgium, or by Belgians during the war, in order to show the true state
of affairs. Most of them were written in French and have been
translated. With the exception of the Cardinal's letter,[14] none of
them have been published.

     [14] Note:--I have heard the spreading of the
     Cardinal's letter by Mme. Carton de Wiart was one of the
     reasons of her arrest, trial and imprisonment.

Extract from a letter from Brussels in August, 1914.

"We are living in suspense now, as the Germans are getting very strict
and angry. Boys and young men leave daily to join the army, and the
different ways of crossing the frontier are very amusing. The Germans
have forbidden the letter by the Cardinal of Malines to be read in the
churches, but needless to say, we all have it."

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from the Pastoral Letter of His Eminence, Cardinal Mercier,
Archbishop of Malines, Belgium:

     "My very dear brethren:

     "It was in Rome itself that I received the tidings--stroke
     after stroke--of the partial destruction of the Cathedral
     Church of Louvain, next of the burning of the library and of
     the scientific installations of our great university, and of
     the devastation of the city, and next of the wholesale shooting
     of the citizens and of tortures inflicted upon women and
     children and upon unarmed and undefended men.

     "And, while I was still under the shock of these calamities,
     the telegraph brought us news of the bombardment of our
     beautiful metropolitan church, of the church of Notre Dame au
     delà Dyle, of the episcopal palace, and of a great part of our
     dear city of Malines....

     "I craved courage and light, and sought them in such thoughts
     as these; a disaster has visited the world, and our beloved
     little Belgium, a nation so faithful in the great mass of
     her population to God, so upright in her patriotism, so noble
     in her King and Government, is the first sufferer. She bleeds;
     her sons are stricken down within her fortresses and upon her
     fields, in defense of her rights and her territory.

     [Illustration: CARDINAL MERCIER.]

     "Soon there will not be one Belgian family not in mourning. Why
     all this sorrow, my God? Lord, Lord, hast Thou forsaken us?...

     "When, immediately upon my return from Rome, I went to Havre to
     greet our Belgian, French and English wounded; when, later, at
     Malines, at Louvain, at Antwerp, it was given to me to take the
     hand of those brave fellows who carried a bullet in their
     flesh, a wound on their forehead, because they had marched to
     the attack of the enemy or borne the shock of this onslaught,
     it was a word of gratitude that rose to my lips. 'O valiant
     friends,' I said, 'it was for us, it was for each one of us, it
     was for me, that you risked your lives and are now in pain. I
     am moved to tell you of my respect, of my thankfulness, to
     assure you that the whole nation knows how much she is in debt
     to you.'

     "For, in truth, our soldiers are all saviours. A first time, at
     Liège, they saved France; a second time, in Flanders, they
     arrested the advance of the enemy upon Calais. France and
     England know it, and Belgium stands before the entire world a
     nation of heroes.

     "Never before in my life did I feel so proud to be a Belgian as
     when, on the platform of French stations, and halting awhile in
     Paris, and visiting London, I witnessed the enthusiastic
     admiration our Allies feel for the heroism of our army....

     "I have traversed the greater part of the districts most
     terribly devastated in my diocese, and the ruins I beheld and
     the ashes, were more dreadful than I, prepared by the saddest
     of forebodings, could have imagined.

     "Other parts of my diocese, which I have not had time to visit,
     have in a like manner, been laid waste. Churches, schools,
     asylums, hospitals, convents in great numbers are in ruins.
     Entire villages have all but disappeared. At Werchter
     Wackerzeel, for instance, out of three hundred and eighty homes
     one hundred and thirty remain. At Tremeloo, two-thirds of the
     village is overthrown. At Beuken, out of one hundred houses
     twenty are standing. At Schaffen, one hundred and eighty-nine
     houses out of two hundred are destroyed; eleven still stand. At
     Louvain, a third of the buildings are down, one thousand and
     seventy-four dwellings have disappeared. On the town land and
     in the suburbs, one thousand six hundred and twenty-three
     houses have been burned.

     "In this dear city of Louvain, perpetually in my thoughts, the
     magnificent church of St. Peter will never recover its former
     splendour. The ancient college of St. Ives, the art schools,
     the consular and commercial schools of the University, the old
     markets, our rich library with its collections, its unique and
     unpublished manuscripts, its archives, its gallery of great
     portraits of illustrious rectors, chancellors, professors,
     dating from the time of its foundation, which preserved for its
     masters and students alike a noble tradition, and was an
     incitement to their studies--all this accumulation of
     intellectual, of historic and artistic riches, the fruit of the
     labour of five centuries--all is in the dust....

     "Thousands of Belgian citizens have been deported to the
     prisons of Germany, to Munsterlagen, to Celle, to Magdeburg. At
     Munsterlagen alone, three thousand one hundred civil prisoners
     were numbered. History will tell of the physical and mental
     torments of their long martyrdom.

     "Hundreds of innocent men were shot. I possess no complete
     necrology; but I know there were ninety-one shot at Aerschot
     and that there, under pain of death, their fellow citizens
     were compelled to dig their graves. In the Louvain group of
     communes one hundred and seventy-six persons, men and women,
     old men and sucklings, rich and poor, in health and sickness,
     were shot or burned....

     "We can neither number our dead nor compute the measure of our
     ruins. And what would it be if we turned our sad steps toward
     Liège, Namur, Audennes, Dinant, Tamines, Charleroi, and
     elsewhere? Families hitherto living at ease, now in bitter
     want; all commerce at an end, all careers ruined, industry at a
     standstill; thousands upon thousands of working men without
     employment; working men, shop girls, humble servants, without
     means of earning their bread, and poor souls forlorn on the bed
     of sickness and fever, crying, 'O Lord, how long, how long?'

     "Thirteen ecclesiastics have been shot in the diocese of
     Malines. There were, to my own actual personal knowledge, more
     than thirty in the diocese of Namur, Tournai, and Liège....

     "On the 19th of April, 1839, a treaty was signed in London by
     King Leopold, in the name of Belgium, on the one part, and by
     the Emperor of Austria, the King of France, the Queen of
     England, the King of Prussia, and the Emperor of Russia on the
     other; and its seventh article decreed that Belgium should
     form a separate and perpetually neutral state, and should be
     held to the observance of this neutrality in regard to all
     other states. The co-signers promised, for themselves and their
     successors, upon their oath, to fulfil and observe that treaty
     in every point and every article without contravention or
     tolerance of contravention. Belgium was thus bound in honour to
     defend her own independence. She kept her oath. The other
     Powers were bound to respect and to protect her neutrality.
     Germany violated her oath, England kept hers....

     "Accept, my dearest brethren, my wishes and prayers for you and
     for the happiness of your families, and receive, I pray you, my
     paternal benediction.

     "_D. J. Cardinal Mercier_,

     "_Archbishop of Malines_."

Here is a letter from a soldier at the front to his parents:

     "TIRELEMONT, 8 August, 1914.

     "My dear Parents:

     "Here I am at Tirlemont, where we are occupied in reforming our
     scattered regiment! Many are killed and injured, some are
     taken, others lost. It is a terrible mix-up, and it will take
     a long time to get it straightened out, and I am profiting by
     this moment to write you and let you know what has happened in
     the last few days.

     "We had been fighting all day Wednesday, and when evening came
     on we were told to dislodge a troop that occupied the space
     between the two forts. They gave us the message very simply:
     'It is death, but it must be done.' Nothing more. We were under
     fire all night. We kill without seeing any one. The bullets
     whistle, a shrapnel explodes five meters from us, we have
     several killed, and we stay under this rain of bullets and it
     is awful.

     "I could not tell you my impressions. I recited about one
     hundred vows; I wondered what it felt like to be in heaven,
     because I was certain that every moment would be my last.

     "The Germans advanced more and more, and we retreated,
     surrounded on all sides, and at four in the morning out of one
     hundred and sixty in our company only seventeen remained; all
     are not dead; there are injured and prisoners. We shall return
     under fire if this keeps up. I will take my part in it; I am
     ready and prepared, and know that if I die I shall do so with
     confidence. Do not think that it is with despair that I shall
     die; it is with the utmost resignation. Do not cry or be sad.
     I resign myself to my fate, and I ask you to take things in
     this way also. Adieu, with all my heart. It is perhaps only for
     a short while, and I shall wait for you above. Much love to the
     family. I am in good health but very tired. Thousands of
     affectionate kisses. I have had my photograph taken and they
     will send you the proof. For my part, I take care to keep your
     photographs on me, and every day, after looking at them, it
     gives me fresh courage. Adieu."

I give next a letter from the Mother Superior of a convent at Liège,
written the night after Liège had been attacked:

     "In the morning the sound of cannon again shook the chapel.

     "The sisters were told to go and get their bundles, and in five
     minutes to be at the gate, where they would each receive five
     francs and their papers, and then they were told to run to the
     station. They did, through the rain, and to the accompaniment
     of the whistle and whine of German bullets. The Germans were on
     the heights, and were approaching every minute. The younger
     sisters helped those who were ill or old. Arriving near the
     station two sick ones were obliged to go to bed in another
     convent, and the others installed themselves in the cellars
     and small hallways. An immense explosion occurred--it was only
     a bridge they were blowing up, but the garden was filled with
     broken pieces of iron and steel. Eighteen sisters got into a
     train filled with wounded and arrived at Brussels at midnight,
     nearly dead from fright.

     "They went up the Boulevard Botanique, where they found an
     ambulance wagon, which took them to the Mother's house. The
     General Superior came to open the door for them, with her white
     apron and her arm band of the Red Cross. They slept in beds
     prepared for the wounded, and the next day they were sent to
     different institutions.

     "People knew nothing but false news, given out by the Germans.
     We had no news for three weeks, so I didn't even know a new
     Pope had been elected."[15]

     [15] The young English lady who took this letter to
     Roehampton was made a prisoner, from nine in the morning until
     four in the afternoon. Although she had to show the letter, the
     German officials let her go, as it was unimportant, but her
     husband was taken prisoner. They asked him his age, and told
     him that they needed soldiers, and that he might be of use to

This letter is from a Belgian nun:


     "My sister Catherine, not being able to get away from Brieux,
     was obliged to stay there thirteen days, and it was the priest
     that brought her back to Bosel in tram and cart. He will go
     back there and show the soldiers the retreat. The Reverend
     Father von Volkson stayed in Malines till the last, and quietly
     kept on reciting his mass while they were bombarding the city.
     He was in civilian dress: but we don't know where he is now.
     Have you heard that the Reverend Mother of Tournai had her arm
     lacerated by a bullet, which then went and hit Mother de B----,
     who was standing behind her, in the region of the heart, and
     both of them died, hit by the same bullet? They were going into
     the loft to see from which direction the Germans were advancing
     to take possession of the city.

     "It is a just war, for God and country. It is this that gives
     the King and our soldiers superhuman strength. As soon as it
     was known that Germany was going to insult Belgium, thousands
     of men offered themselves to fight, and the priests accompanied
     these brave men to give them spiritual help and encouragement."

     "OSTEND--end of October.

     "During the week of the 31st of October the Belgians resisted
     the attacks of the enemy, and the King had the dangerous honour
     of commanding the Allies' left wing while they put up a
     terrific fight to defend Calais, which was the principal prize
     of this terrific struggle. For six days our Belgians stood the
     fire of 250,000 Germans, who were afterwards reinforced by
     100,000 others. With these forces the enemy had to pass the
     Yser, which was filled with bodies. Although the fight seemed
     ended, 'the Belgians'--to quote Cæsar--'continued to dispute
     the mastery of the last parcel of their territory. With a rage
     bordering on grief they thought they would have to capitulate
     immediately.' The Belgians lost 10,000 men. They attacked
     again, and the enemy was forced to repass the Yser red with
     blood, and they were chased ten miles towards the north.

     "But still, though we have lost so many, we have not lost
     courage. In the midst of our ruined cities and our burnt and
     ruined crops, higher than our burnt towers, higher than the
     cruel deeds, stands our hope, and higher than the ignominy our
     proud independence, our love for the King and our land. Not for
     one instant has the Belgian spirit regretted the call of honour
     that has caused us such calamities, and tomorrow she would
     still refuse, even at the same price and at the cost of the
     same martyrdom!

     "Sir Edward Grey saluted the Comte de Lalaing (Minister
     Plenipotentiary at London) with the title of Ambassador, of
     which Belgium is worthy.

     [Illustration: THE BELGIAN ARMY.]

     "If you could only hear our injured and wounded speak of the
     King. When an officer fell the King took his place, crying out,
     'Come, my children, shoot now, like this, all together.' And
     you should see how they killed their enemies! Today is the
     fête-day of our poor little Queen; what an anniversary! At the
     Palace Hotel they give the wounded wine in her honour, and they
     sing the 'Brabançonne,' and 'Vers l'Avenir.'"

     I give two verses of the "Brabançonne":--

    "Fled the years of servile shame,
      Belgium, 'tis thine hour at last,
    Wear again thy ancient name,
      Spread thy banner on the blast.
    Sovereign people, in thy might
      Steadfast yet and valiant be,
    On thy ancient standard write--
      Land and Law and Liberty!

    "Belgium, Mother, hear us vow,
      Never will our love abate,
    Thou our hope, our refuge thou,
      Hearts and blood are consecrate.
    Grave, we pray, upon thy shield
      This device eternally,
    Weal or woe, at home, a-field,
      Land and law and liberty."

From Countess ----:


     "Food is easy to get if not plentiful and the bread eatable in
     Brussels. V. got out of Belgium this time without being caught.
     We are full of hope. We are well and busy. Every one is trying
     to help those in need. There is much to do. Those who still
     remain here see each other often. We meet at each other's
     houses for tea and bring information. A. was wounded in the
     head and has been taken prisoner. Mr. Whitlock's untiring
     devotion to his work is more than appreciated by every class.
     He is just the man for the place. The Spanish Minister is a
     great help. We have had no letter since August. I knit madly to
     keep calm. I hope the day may come when I may say all that is
     in my heart. It is a suffocating feeling to have a foreign
     occupation. We have such a time getting the papers. One sheet
     appears a day, and all we want to know is carefully left out by
     the Germans."

In October there comes a moan from Luxembourg.


     "We are crying for flour. Nothing sent from America can reach
     Luxembourg. The railways are destroyed by dynamite, _toutes les
     routes ravagées_; not one way of communication at present. The
     rich as well as the poor are dying of hunger and cold. All the
     horrors of our enemies are, alas! quite true. We are ruined,
     our money gone, the villa burnt. Tears are dropping on the
     letter as I write. This letter which may never reach you."


     "My good Mother,

     "I have thought of you very often since it has pleased God to
     visit upon us the horrors of war. What damages have been caused
     by the Germans in our country! At Dinant Mr. Wassege has been
     shot with his two sons because he did not want to open the safe
     of the bank or give the combination. Seventy-five other
     civilians had the same fate, also hundreds of little children.
     The horrors the Germans have committed here are fit for Turks
     or savages; I could state hundreds of cases. In Antwerp two
     beautiful estates, which were situated near the forts,
     belonging to well-known German society people, were found to
     have underground passages leading to the fortresses. By chance,
     barrels were found containing German uniforms for those we have
     received with so much kindness, to put on when the German
     soldiers occupy the city, as was seen in Verviers. In several
     houses in Antwerp wireless plants were discovered. In Antwerp
     hundreds of spies were found, who dressed in all manner of
     clothing, as nuns, priests, and nurses.

     "They are taking the civilians away to serve as soldiers in the
     German army, or to gather their crops. In Namur they have
     started to write down the births, deaths, and marriages, and
     the people must take German names, or be shot.

     "Eight thousand people fleeing from Louvain were forced to
     march a great distance by the Germans, eight in a line, and
     they had to keep their hands in the air all the time. They had
     to fasten Helen P----'s baby on her back--she is the niece of
     Mother V. E---- so that she could walk in this way. Our
     soldiers often have Communion, and are full of courage and
     confidence. They love the King, who shows himself full of
     courage. He marches at the head of his troops, and after a
     battle shakes hands with the soldiers; we can be proud of him.

     [Illustration: BELGIAN REFUGEES.]

     "A magistrate on his way back to Brussels was given a letter to
     deliver. He told a friend on the train he had the letter on his
     person, but did not know where to hide it. His friend said he
     was doing a very dangerous thing, for if the letter was found
     on him he would be shot. He also said: 'You must read it, then
     tear it up, and transmit the news orally.' This he did. Later
     the train was surrounded by Germans, who announced that no one
     was to descend, and that it was forbidden to carry letters, and
     in consequence every one was going to be searched. Terrible
     fright! Of the people carrying letters, one managed to eat his,
     when he found that it could not be hidden and he was not able
     to throw it away.... The magistrate presented himself at
     six-thirty at the proper place, and recited the contents of the
     letter and told the story of his trip."


     "As for the Belgian refugees, it is getting to be a great
     problem what to do with them. There are thousands and thousands
     like droves of frightened sheep, not a particle of clothing but
     what they stand up in, and not a penny in the world. You just
     cannot realize it unless you see them. Ladies and gentlemen of
     fine position and peasants all together, and all helpless and

            *       *       *       *       *

     "It seems so horrible to think that our only thought is to
     kill, and that we rejoice when the enemy has lost men. I hardly
     dare think of it. It seems as though we had all gone mad.

     "The King Albert Hospital is working well, and three more
     Belgian hospitals have had to be opened. They now all work
     under military authority, and so they do not need our
     assistance any more, I mean, in the way of our being there

     "Mrs. B---- and I have now put our hearts and energies into a
     Maternity Home for Belgians, that is, we have two, one for
     ladies and one for working women. They are both such sweet,
     pretty homes, that it really must help them to forget the
     cruelties of being far from their husbands and homes. They
     nearly all call their sons Albert, and the daughters either
     Elizabeth or Alberta.

     "The streets and shops are filled with Belgians, one hears
     French in busses, everywhere in fact. One often hears Flemish
     too. I was surprised when I first heard it, for it sounded so
     like German. _L'Echo Belge_, a Flemish paper published in
     London, has on the first page: '_Voor God en
     Vaderland_'--'_Pour Dieu et Patrie_.' A great many papers are
     published here for the Belgians and French. There are
     innumerable appeals, many for Belgium, such as: Belgian Relief
     Fund, the Belgian Soldiers Fund, and so forth.

     "Limericks are very common among the soldiers and are very
     good. Here is one about a Belgian girl. Please remember that
     Ypres is called Wipers by Tommy Atkins.

         "There was a young lady of Ypres,
         Who was hit in the cheek by two snipers,
         The tunes that she played
         Through the holes that they made,
         Beat the Argyle and Sutherland pipers."

     "The shop windows are full of war games, such as: 'Storming the
     Citadel'--'Kill Kiel'--and the 'Dreadnaught game.'

     "Tommy gives the bombs such amusing names, 'Black Marias,'
     'Aunt Sally's Nephews,' and 'Eagle Eggs.' The German trench
     motor is called 'The Undertaker.' The anti-aircraft gun is
     nicknamed 'Archibald' and the German howitzer which emits a
     thick white smoke is called 'The Woolly Bear.' He calls these
     picturesque names 'Slanguage.'"


     "We are passing horrible hours. You cannot imagine what it has
     been the last three months. Everywhere misery, crêpe and ruin.
     To add to the horror of the situation, famine has arrived. Most
     of our friends have had their châteaux pillaged. The buildings
     even are often destroyed. Our friends arrive in the night on
     foot, with all that they own on their backs and their children
     following them. They often walk miles before finding a roof to
     shelter them, for many villages are burnt to the ground,
     deserted, and many of the people shot. _C'est affreux!_

     "Henri has won two _galons_ for his bravery in battle. The last
     news we have of him is good. _Dieu merci._ Jean has been
     slightly wounded. What a relief to have him safe for the moment
     in a hospital. George de Ligne, Henri d'Oultremont, _tués_, Guy
     Reynteins _blessé_. Two of the Cornet Counts have been taken
     from their château, which was burned, and no one knows what has
     become of them. Every day the Germans are more brutal and more
     hateful. They are worse than they are depicted.

     "We are indeed grateful to the American Minister. He is
     intelligent, active and kind, as well as a charming man.

     "It is difficult to get the food distributed in the villages,
     for there are no means of conveyance, except motors run by
     twenty-four young Americans. They are doing fine work and are a
     great help. The d'Assches, de Mérodes, Beeckmans and de
     Beughems are here."

A letter from Switzerland reads:


     "I have been at a camp of French and Belgian soldiers in
     Germany, nearly fifteen thousand of them, all without blankets.
     They dig holes in the ground and get into them, and then spread
     their coats over the top in order to sleep and keep warm."

A letter from a cousin at a hospital in France says,

     "Today seventy French soldiers were brought in, all with their
     right hands gone."

     "BRUSSELS--end of December.

     "The weather is awful, the fighting in the North has been again
     very violent. We have little wool to knit with. We need flannel
     too for the soldiers. It is freezing. We are trying to get warm
     clothes to the soldiers. We are having a snowstorm such as has
     not been seen for twenty years, in fact one might be in
     America. The snow has lasted five days. Everything is all
     frozen and one slips and the trams are all crowded. Hospital
     things are particularly necessary.

     "My husband asked a German, an old friend of his, if it was
     possible for me to take clothes to the English prisoners here.
     He was refused. No one has been able to help the poor English,
     and God only knows how they are being treated by these brutes.
     We have been able to help the French prisoners."


     "I saw at Ostend an old woman of ninety, who had walked from
     Waterloo. I do not like to write much, as it is safer not to do
     so. The money that was sent will go at once to a woman with
     five children, whose husband was wounded. I have been taking
     care of him at the hospital. He is well again and leaves today
     for the front. The wounded try to get well as quickly as
     possible, as they want to return to the front.

     "My villa _à Duinbergen près de Heyst sur mer_ is occupied by
     the Germans. My maid was left in charge. The Germans ordered
     her to give them our clothes. I hear my house is a house _de
     debauche et d'orgie. La femme de chambre a été molestée par un
     soldat ivre._ When the old gardener and his wife tried to
     interfere, the soldiers said if they did, they would shoot
     them. Oh, when will this cease and the world know the truth?
     _Cette abominable race!_ My heart is broken."

     "THE HAGUE, Feb. 22, 1915.

     "My uncle and aunt are in Anjoux. Think of the life they lead,
     constantly struggling against all sorts of plunder, the worst
     elements of the population now having free play. Anarchy is
     uppermost in many places.... They have no respect for anything.
     What ruin on all sides, and to think that our poor little
     country was always so hospitable to those Germans!

     "As to the Royal family: I know the Queen never leaves La Panne
     (the last Belgian village). Every day she is with the wounded
     and goes very near the trenches. She is admirable in her
     courage and strength, and I know she suffers terribly from the
     conduct of her compatriots (she is Bavarian), but in justice I
     must say that the Bavarians have everywhere behaved better than
     the others. The Prussians have been terrible. The old Princesse
     de Ligne, widow of Prince Edward, who is the Mother of the
     Councillor of our Legation here in The Hague, arrived here in
     October. She stayed one month and a half at the Château de la
     Neuville, near Liège, and under German dominion. Although
     speaking German perfectly, as she is Austrian by birth, she had
     a great deal to suffer. A German colonel with his revolver in
     his hand followed her all over the house and made her show him
     everything. (The same thing happened to the Comtesse de Mérode
     at the Château de Waterloo; everything was opened, searched,
     and in part plundered.) The Princesse de Ligne replied to one
     officer that a certain old salver of repoussé silver was not
     for sale, when he wished to buy it. The next day that and other
     pieces of silver were gone. At Conjoux they passed days of
     anguish during the burning of Dinant. There was a battle in the
     wood back of the little house where we had so often had tea.

     "The plundering of Dinant was most terrible, and what has been
     told of the horrors of that time is not at all exaggerated. Up
     to the present time they have exhumed 981 bodies of civilians,
     of which one hundred are children between three months and ten
     years. All this is official. There have, of course, been
     exaggerations, but how many horrors are still unknown!

     "There were just such massacres at Audennes, Visé, Louvain,
     Aerschot and Termonde, not to speak of the smaller villages,
     and J. told me when he passed through here to join the army
     that in going through Dinant between Aisny and Philippeville
     there was not one village that had not been completely
     destroyed. At Liegnon (the station where one leaves the train
     in going to Conjoux) they imprisoned 900 peasants in a church
     for seventeen days. No one was allowed to go in. Two women were
     confined and were unable to have a doctor. The curé of
     Lorinnes, near Conjoux, had his lungs pulled out on each side
     with the hooks that are used for the tires of motor cars. I
     could go on telling you of just such incidents for pages and

     [Illustration: THE CHÂTEAU OF ARDENNE.]

     "The Château of Ardenne, which had become the property of the
     State through the gift of Leopold II, has been completely
     emptied. There is not one piece of furniture left, nor a frame,
     nor a picture; everything is gone, and this is the case in many

     "At Ghent my family have suffered a great deal from the
     presence of the enemy in their homes. I have already told you
     of their installing the passport office in our grandfather's
     drawing room; you remember the one where the picture hung and
     the chests that belonged to Marie Antoinette. You may imagine
     the filth, and they insisted on putting in gas, saying it was
     so dark they could not see. It is true it was dark, but they
     had no right to ruin everything. It is curious that our
     grandfather still has papers giving an account of the Cossacks'
     sojourn in 1814. In the very same house, a Russian colonel was
     lodger. According to these papers, there were far fewer
     injuries and complaints than in 1914 against the Germans. At
     Laeken, in the royal château, the Germans held a veritable orgy
     and ruined everything; such dirt; and horrors so ignoble that I
     dare not describe it further. The fact is that everything in
     that beautiful château is in a deplorable condition.

     "The Germans hope to demoralize us by circulating false
     reports. Every day despatches from the Kaiser announcing their
     victories are posted on the walls of the towns; this also to
     encourage their troops. The soldiers arriving in Ghent think
     they are within a few miles of London. The people have
     naturally taken a mischievous delight in undeceiving them and
     telling them they were by no means near London, but near the
     Yser. They actually wept, for the Yser is their nightmare, and
     with reason. That is easily understood. They do not advance;
     quite the contrary.


     "The King and Queen are still at La Panne. Little Prince
     Leopold, thirteen years old, is with them now. The other day
     all three on horseback reviewed the new recruits on the beach;
     all the time the German aeroplanes were throwing bombs.

     "We have a new army of 200,000 men, and it increases every day.
     The spirit of the troops is excellent. The other day the Queen
     went with little Prince Leopold as far as the second line of
     trenches to see the soldiers. It was near Nieuport. She sat
     down amongst them, and after she left the soldiers made a
     little sanctuary of the spot where she had sat. Our sovereigns
     are adored by their troops, and they well deserve it. Nothing
     matters to them--neither suffering, fatigue, danger nor money,
     for they are wonderfully generous. Nearly all the Relief
     Societies for Refugees in Belgium, here in Holland, in England,
     and in France have had gifts from them, and in some cases they
     have been considerable. It is thought now that the barbarity of
     the Germans and their cruelty has ceased since they have been
     stopped at the Yser, but this is not so. Naturally massacres
     are less systematic than during the first three months of the
     war, but there are constantly peasants and civilians shot and
     priests sent to Germany. At Cortemarch (near Roulers) they
     sent the curé and the vicar to Germany because they accused the
     village of having had a spy. This they posted themselves in all
     the Flemish towns. The number of people who have had to pay
     ransom for one or another _soi-disant_ reason is countless. Our
     cousin, living at Wielt, has been imprisoned and forced to pay
     one thousand marks fine for daring to lift his voice feebly
     against the requisitions, without even payment by note, that
     were levied on the farmers.

     "The Germans have now forbidden disinterment of the bodies, as
     the proof of their cruelty was too obvious. At the time of the
     flight of our poor population here the little children, seeing
     the Dutch soldiers dressed in gray, took them for Germans, and
     lifted up their little arms as these latter had obliged them to
     do. There are still in Holland 250,000 poor refugees. They are
     nearly all settled in camps of wood which in the beginning were
     very bad, but are improving now every day. After the taking of
     Antwerp there were one million here for one or two months.

     "My brothers are well, thank God.--Pray.--Let us pray together
     if you will, for all. God will hear us and will give us the joy
     of acclaiming our King in Brussels when he reënters at the
     head of his army. It is the goal and dream of all the Belgians.
     It will be a day of wild and mad delirium. It gives me the
     shivers even to dream of it."

From the son of Dr. Depage to his mother while she was lecturing in


     "La Panne[16] has changed a great deal these last few weeks.
     The tourist that would come here would think himself in an
     exhibition, just before opening day.

     [16] The Belgian army retired from Antwerp to La

"On all sides one sees tents that spring from the ground. The floors
would make fine skating rinks when the war is over.

"Truly the medical career is full of surprises, and I sometimes ask
myself if my father, who as a youngster poached in the Forêt de Soignes,
ever thought or even dreamed that he would one day be not only a great
doctor, but a superior officer in the Belgian army.

"Life is a strange thing, Mother dearie, but I think that it can be very
beautiful, if one understands it,--and also very sad.

"As to the war, the wounded are taking the illusion from us that we are
having a vacation at the seaside.

"The weather has been so beautiful since the first day of spring that
one is sometimes surprised not to see parasols of flaming colours, and
the silhouettes of pretty women walking on the beach, or to see happy
children building forts, which the incoming tide soon destroys. Alas!
are we not all big children, we Belgians, that resist the incoming tide,
and our forts no better or stronger? But I think the tide is high now,
and soon it will go down.

"As to Y. P---- I think that we must give up all hope of seeing him
again. We thought for a while he was a prisoner, but though we tried to
find him we could not. And then, he would have let his mother have news
from him, don't you think?--since the 22d of October.

"We must not think of him now, we must remain courageous and keep on

"After the war, it will be time to count the spaces in our ranks, and I
fear there will be many. My comrade was killed in our first bayonet
charge. (You know we fight as much as possible in pairs.) I was about to
kill a German when the man begged so pleadingly for his life, saying he
had a wife and children, that I faltered for a moment--in that moment he
half turned and quickly killed my comrade."

"BRUSSELS--end of April.

"Everybody here deprives himself to help the more unfortunate. Thanks to
America the famine has been averted. The American Minister is adored and
blessed by all. He is so simple and modest that he doesn't like
manifestations of thanks, but after the war we hope to show our
appreciation. The d'Assches, Woelmonts, Pierre van der Straten and other
faithful ones remain here until the day of deliverance. The Germans,
after they have massacred and pillaged, now remain more quiet. They are
ashamed, with reason, of their infamous doings, and I think the
cruelties are past. But how does one know with barbarians? We are
waiting for the Roumanians and the Greeks, and the Italians to enter on
our side. The whole world wants to get all and risk nothing. I am
writing to ask you if the singers in New York will not be able to
organize something for the benefit of their dear brothers and sisters
here. No music is possible. Professors and artists die from hunger....

"I want to tell you that my little Marie is going to make her first
communion privately. It is a sweet consolation for me to prepare her.
She is so simple and religious that I believe her prayers must be
acceptable to the Lord. She is very young, only just seven; but as you
know, Pope Pius Tenth wished that children should take their first
communion at that age. In these grave days we wanted her to receive this
great favour that she may unite her innocent prayers with ours in order
that the Lord may hear us the better."

"LONDON, May 1, 1915.

"It is very wearisome waiting to be sent to La Panne--but the shelling
of Dunkirk does not bode well for our speedy departure. We simply have
to wait from day to day, ready to start at short notice. The American
Red Cross doctors and nurses--of the two new units, just arrived from
America--are waiting also in London. The rules are stricter and stricter
for leaving England.... No one may now leave for nursing without having
been definitely engaged in a hospital over there. People are often
turned back from Dover in spite of passports which are apparently
perfectly correct.

"You see La Panne is at present under shell fire--the King and Queen
have been headquartering there, an added reason for the Germans to try
to demolish it. But I hear that just now they have been too near La
Panne to be able to get so short a range, and Dunkirk as you know has
been the victim. Many hospitals there are being evacuated.... In the
meantime I have been rather enjoying some free time here in London. I
was busy for a while getting my new uniforms for La Panne--and odds and
ends necessary for the 'war zone.' The uniform is of dark blue, and we
wear caps with a long white veil behind. In order to get my certificate
I had to take an oral medical examination--in French--before five
Belgian doctors. A very trying ordeal, for it was really a stiff
examination, with questions which are asked of trained nurses in their
third year. But I got through somehow, and am now the proud possessor of
a certificate giving me '_le droit de me mettre au service de la Croix
Rouge de Belgique en qualité d'infirmière_' signed by all the doctors.

"All the food for La Panne is sent out from London on Monday of each
week by the Admiralty boat. They send only once a week, as it is
necessary for supplies to be watched and escorted all the way--otherwise
they get stolen. One day we saw a lot packed up all ready to start--some
friends of Mother's have charge of the whole fund, and also of the
refugee fund which distributes food all over London and neighbourhood.
They have been very nice to me, and offered me a job to drive a
motor-van for them, carrying food to Belgian hostels and families. I
went out with another girl once or twice, but have had no time yet to do
anything regularly.... We are told that they are _very_ much in need of
ether at La Panne--and I want to send out some with the money which has
been given me. But this last week or two _nothing_ could be
sent--fortunately there is a reserve supply of food at La Panne and
another in Dunkirk, so it has not mattered much.... Since I came from
Paignton I have been staying at the Nurses' Hostel in Francis Street,
off Tottenham Court Road, with Nurse Walsh and Nurse Scott. It is very
big and comfortable--and very cheap--well known all over the world. And
nurses are pouring in almost daily from Canada and Australia. It is
quite an experience staying there, and I slept in a cubicle the first
three nights to see what it was like!

"One day we went to an exhibition by the Women's Signaling Corps. Women
and girls are learning flag-signaling, and they are also to take up
bicycle despatch-riding, telegraphy, etc. The idea is of course to free
men for the front. Miss D----, who is the chief officer of the women
police, and a remarkable woman, came to dinner with us last week. They
have been enrolled with the aim of providing a body of trained women for
the service of the public.


"I inclose you a copy of a letter from Lieutenant X----, who was in
command of two companies of Gurkhas at the fight at Neuve Chapelle. It
was written to his family on his twenty-eighth birthday."

The letter from Lieutenant X---- follows:

     "March 15, 1915.

     "I ought to consider myself lucky to see another 15th of March,
     after the last five days. It has been absolute hell, but anyhow
     we won ground and killed more than we lost. The best way of
     telling you will be to quote my diary again.

     "March 9th we spent in billets very cold, frosty and snow
     showers. Marched off at 11.30 P. M. for the Neuve Chapelle
     front, so we got no sleep that night.

     "March 10th. Arrived in a trench line at about 3 A. M. after a
     march full of checks, owing to the crowded roads. The action
     about to take place was not a small one, but one by a front of
     three divisions, of which we were the center one. At 4.30 A.
     M. punctually, 480 guns opened fire and never I should think in
     history has there been such a bombardment. Our guns blazed
     away--the country behind was a mass of gun flashes--and in
     front of us a mass of smoke and shell bursts. There was not a
     second in which you could say, there is no gun firing--it was a
     continuous rattle and roar, and you could not hear yourself
     speak. We had to lie very low in our trench and there were
     several short bursts of our own shell going overhead; in fact I
     picked up two shrapnel bullets on my right hand side, and the
     base of a fuse on my left hand side. According to arrangements,
     at 8 A. M. our guns increased their range, and our first
     attacking line advanced under the enemy's trenches. The first
     and second lines reached the enemy's trenches with very little
     loss comparatively, as the enemy were quite disorganized by our
     shelling. They passed over two lines of trenches and reached an
     old trench line dug in the early days of the war--called the
     Smith-Dorrien line--about 1,200 yards beyond. I followed close
     behind, and Major B---- came last--we had about 96 casualties
     in the first advance. We all reached the Smith-Dorrien line
     with the Germans in full retreat, our guns firing shrapnel on
     them. At this point we could have advanced still further, but
     that for one thing our guns were still dropping shells just in
     front of us, and for another the division on our left had not
     advanced sufficiently to support us. My double company only got
     about thirty prisoners and two machine guns. We immediately
     started digging ourselves in against an expected
     counter-attack. Some snipers from a trench on our right
     troubled us for some time; the regiment on our right had
     somehow advanced beyond the trench without killing its
     occupants.... At dark another brigade passed through us and
     advanced towards a wood 1,000 yards in front of us, and
     entrenched themselves 250 yards in our front. Maxim and rifle
     fire was opened on them by the enemy from the edge of the wood,
     but they did not suffer very heavily.

     "March 11th. The entrenched line ahead of us was held all day.
     We got heavily shelled all day--the heaviest shells dropped
     behind, Jack Johnsons and Woolly Bears, while we had shrapnel,
     bombs and nasty double-acting shells which burst first with
     white smoke, and fifty yards further on with black smoke. We
     also got a good share of a shell which gave out the most
     beastly-smelling gases. Major B---- was wounded in the head by
     a bomb which burst on our parapet within a foot of my head,
     blowing a large hole in the parapet and covering me with
     earth. The explosion of it, so close, instead of deafening me
     seemed to clear a passage through my head from ear to ear, and
     I went through all the processes of death. It seemed to me I
     was a goner, and it was some seconds before I realized I was
     alive and unhurt. The brigade in our front was ordered to
     retire in the night, and we were told to hold their evacuated
     trench with pickets. I sent out a picket from my double
     company--they remained out until 5 A. M., when I was ordered to
     withdraw them.

     "March 12th. They had only just come in when the Germans were
     seen advancing, and a fearful fusillade of rifle fire from our
     trenches began. After a time the firing slackened and dawn
     came, when in front of us were lines of dead Germans. We
     counted about one hundred in our immediate front--there were
     lots more to right and left, and the trench just evacuated in
     our front was thick with them. We had some very useful pistols
     with us, which fire a big cartridge and light up the ground in
     front. I fired fifteen rounds with mine to enable my men to see
     to fire. Only a few live Germans remained in the trench to our
     front, and these a British regiment turned out in an attack at
     1 P. M. Their first line advanced through us, but suffered
     rather heavily from fire from a trench to our left front. Their
     second line was about to advance, and the officer in command of
     it jumped lip close by me and shouted 'Second line advance,'
     when he dropped, shot through the head. The third line never
     advanced. On our right the ---- Gurkhas advanced to the front
     trench and suddenly white flags began to appear, and after some
     difficulty we got our men to stop firing, and a few of the
     Gurkhas began sending prisoners back. In a moment both sides
     were standing up out of the trenches, on our side we were
     waving to the Germans to come in, and on their side they were
     waving flags and calling for us to go and fetch them--but this
     we could not do, as they continued to fire and we could not
     trust them. But the ---- Gurkhas collected a lot on the right
     and more followed, many of them wounded, and came into our
     lines. About a hundred came like this, I should think. Many
     more would have liked to come from further to the left, but it
     was difficult to arrange, as they kept firing and at the same
     time did not trust us sufficiently to leave cover. However we
     got a fair bag.

     "March 13th. All to-day and yesterday too we had absolute hell
     from enemies' artillery. All day we lay flat against the front
     parapet in fear and trembling--we were very crowded in our
     trench as a British regiment was there too, and such crowding
     added of course to the casualties. The shells dropped all round
     us--many dropped close in front and behind, putting the fear of
     God into us. All this time our artillery was firing too and the
     noise was terrific. The men behaved absolutely splendidly and
     did not move from their places. At 5 P. M. we got news that we
     were to be relieved--we were pleased and the men bucked up at
     once and started chattering away. We hoped to go out at dusk,
     but were disappointed, as a message came to say a German
     counter-attack was expected, and we must remain for the time
     being. However I got away about 8 P. M., and reported to the
     Colonel, who told me to march off to billets. Off I went with
     my men and myself, all as happy as could be, but I only got as
     far as our brigade headquarters a mile away, when the General
     said, he was very sorry but the ---- and ---- Gurkhas had to
     stay in reserve to the brigade who had relieved us. This was a
     bit fat after five days and nights without any wink of sleep
     for any one; for we had to work all night at improving our
     trench and repairing it where shells had damaged it, digging
     graves for killed, seeing to wounded going back; and in the day
     it was impossible to sleep for the noise, and casualties
     occurring now and then, and the fear of a German attack.
     However there was nothing for it, so I explained the situation
     to my men, who I must say took it very well. I almost cried for
     pity at their disappointment, for they were all dead tired: in
     fact none of us could walk in a straight line, and they were
     looking forward to a good sleep and some decent food again.
     However they turned and marched forward again, but no sooner
     had I arrived than a staff officer of the other brigade came
     and said the ---- and ---- Gurkhas were no longer required--so
     about turn again and back we went at a snail's pace. I halted
     at one place for water, as the men had been rather short of
     water the whole time, and I gave them an hour's sleep by the
     roadside at another point.

     "March 14th. It was about four miles to our billets and we got
     in just at dawn--our billets are near to L----. After some food
     they started to get some rest, but at 12 noon we had to change
     to another house half a mile away. Poor fellows, they have had
     a time, but the whole regiment has behaved splendidly and they
     are as cheerful as ever. Many acts of individual bravery were
     performed. During the attack there was a house full of Germans,
     but the difficulty was to get them out. One of our fellows went
     in and called upon all of them to surrender--and he brought
     out nine of them. On another occasion some of our men had to
     bring up ammunition along a _nullah_ which was swept by
     machine-gun fire. One of the men was wounded, but another
     coming up behind stopped, put down the ammunition box he was
     carrying and dressed the wound, remaining under fire till he
     was killed. A Jack Johnson burst near one of our machine guns
     and buried every man except one, who was only buried up to the
     waist. He got out and dug out the others, and all were saved.
     Poor Major F---- was shot through the head during the German
     counter-attack and killed. In my own double company I had Major
     D---- wounded, 30 men wounded, and 9 killed. Our regimental
     casualties were 1 British officer killed, 2 Gurkha officers
     killed, and 39 rank and file killed, 3 British officers (Major
     B----, Major T---- and Captain S----) wounded, not seriously; 2
     Gurkha officers and 170 rank and file wounded, 35 missing,
     probably killed or wounded. Losses in the other four regiments
     in the brigade were much the same. A great many of the Germans
     against us were found to have bullets on them with the tips
     snicked off with cutters, making them act like dum-dum
     bullets--in fact three were shot for this on the spot. Several
     of our wounded showed dum-dum wounds....

     "You noticed perhaps that Sir John French's despatches, after
     the recent fighting, thanked the Worcesters 'a second
     time'--and everybody does not know that the first time was at
     Mons. Towards the end of that battle, Sir Douglas Haig came and
     said he thought they couldn't possibly hold on any longer.
     General French agreed reluctantly, and gave the order for a
     general retreat. But immediately Sir Douglas Haig came back in
     haste to report that the Worcesters were still holding on, and
     the General said, 'Then let us all hold on a little longer.'
     The tide turned and the Germans retreated--and so it was that a
     plain little company of Worcesters saved Europe! Three separate
     times General French started to go and thank the Worcesters,
     and three times he had to turn back--he couldn't speak for the
     choke in his throat...."



At first there was some discussion as to the advisability of America's
feeding the Belgians. International law told us that it was the duty of
the army occupying foreign territory to feed the civilian population.
English soldiers felt that by importing foodstuffs into Belgium, America
was helping the Germans. But Germany was unwilling to take upon herself
this additional load, and some one had to do it. While the discussion
was going on, seven million people were beginning to starve. "The hungry
stomach knows no politics, and when a man is drowning, pull him out and
not ascertain who threw him in." So America came to the rescue.

After the destruction of Louvain a committee was formed in New York to
collect funds for the Belgians, headed by Mr. de Forrest. His
Excellency, Mr. Emmanuel Havenith, and His Eminence, Cardinal Gibbons,
at once started a general movement, thinking that a comparatively small
sum would be needed. The Millers' Belief Committee, headed by Mr. Edgar
in Minneapolis, was among the first to respond. My husband started the
New England committee at that time.

Later, Mr. Whitlock informed Mr. Page, our Ambassador in London, of the
great devastation in Belgium, as a result of which millions of people
were on the verge of starvation. So a commission of Americans was formed
in England, headed by Mr. Hoover, They sent Mr. Lindon W. Bates over
here to organize committees throughout the United States. The British
and Belgian governments promised to help, as well as the Spanish, and
Germany gave permission for foodstuffs to be distributed to
non-combatants in Belgium. The Spanish and American Ministers in
Brussels, and their committees in other towns in Belgium, had charge of
the distribution.[17]

     [17] I am indebted to the official bulletin of the
     Commission for Relief in Belgium for much of the following

This Commission perfected a wonderful system of shipping and of giving
out the supplies. Everything was issued from the principal and branch
stations of the Commission in Belgium into the hands of the "Commission
Nationale Comité de Secours," a well-organized Belgian association.

The appeal to the governors of states and to the Rockefeller Foundation
met with the most generous response. The American railways and express
companies for a time gave free transportation, and then coöperated to
ship at reasonable prices. The Rockefeller Foundation also undertook to
furnish free ocean transportation, and chartered the first ship that
sailed from America with food for the Belgians, the _Maesapequa_, which
left here November 4th and reached Rotterdam the 18th. The Foundation
also contributed foodstuffs.

Throughout the winter everybody knitted madly. The unemployed were set
to work at small pay making garments, and people literally took their
clothes off their backs to send. Plays, concerts, lectures, moving
picture shows and rummage sales took in money which was later turned
into food.

The way in which this food was put up was original and quite American.
Boxes were filled with nourishing food suited to the needs of three
classes of refugees--infants, convalescents, and adults.

"A package for infants and young children should include thirty pounds
of evaporated, unsweetened milk; about two pounds of milk sugar, five
pounds of barley flour, five pounds of cornmeal, five pounds of oatmeal,
and two ounces of salt. This will sustain from two hundred to two
hundred and fifty infants or young children for one day.

"For packages for convalescents the following is recommended: Fifteen
pounds of evaporated milk, fifteen pounds of malted milk; one pound can
of olive or cottonseed oil; two pounds of canned chicken, five pounds of
brown rice, seven pounds of whole wheat or white flour, three pounds of
sugar, two pounds of tea, and six ounces of salt. It is estimated that
this will sustain from one hundred to one hundred and fifty
convalescents for one day.

"A package for well adults should contain: Five pounds of canned baked
beans, eight pounds of dried lentils, peas or beans, five pounds of
canned salmon, five pounds of oatmeal, five pounds of cornmeal, fifteen
pounds of whole wheat or white flour, two pounds of sugar and six ounces
of salt. This will furnish a sustaining ration for fifty adults for one

"Not one mouthful has gone down a German throat yet, nor do I believe it
ever will," wrote Mr. Hoover; "we have had nothing but help from the
Germans in the distribution of American foodstuffs in Belgium. Belgium
raises less than forty per cent. of its own food. The war struck it in
the midst of the harvest, and Belgium had made no provision to feed
itself in time of trouble. The minimum monthly requirements of the
Belgian population are sixty thousand tons of grain, fifteen thousand
tons of maize, three thousand tons of rice and peas, at a cost of four
or five million dollars."

There was no milk for thirty thousand babies at the end of November. The
cows had all been killed or taken by the Germans for the army. The
starving mothers could give little nourishment to their infants, and the
supply of condensed milk was quickly used up. This picture was brought
by an American from Belgium:

     "I stood one morning by the back door of a German cook camp,
     watching a group of Belgian women grubbing through the trash
     heap piled up behind the camp. All these women carried babies.
     'What are they doing?' I asked a German sergeant with whom I
     had struck up an acquaintance. 'Scraping our condensed milk
     cans,' he said. 'It is the only way to get milk for their
     babies. I have seen them run their fingers round a can which
     looked as bright as a new coin, and hold them into the babies'
     mouths to suck."

Six thousand meals a day were served in Brussels alone in the autumn. In
some places one large baker's bun a day was all that was issued by the
authorities; in other places, one bowl of cabbage soup. By April there
were forty-seven soup kitchens in Brussels.

A shipload of food meant one day's rations for the Belgians. When the
first ship arrived at the Hook of Holland, the city of Rotterdam
rejoiced. While the unpacking went on, speeches were made and banquets
held, and American national airs were played. The cargo of the ship was
put into canal barges, which by German permission were allowed to make
their way to the different towns.

To show how quickly the food is distributed--in three hours sixty
thousand people received bread. Three hundred and sixty sacks of
American flour arriving at Verviers was distributed in the form of bread
the following morning. According to the system of the Commission, each
person receives three cards. "One is kept at the office, the other two
are given to the applicant. One of these he keeps and presents each day
for his quota of rations, i. e., bread. The other he gives to his baker.
With this card the baker makes application to the storehouse for the
necessary flour to cover the demand of the bread card. The bread card
calls for 325 grams of bread; the baker's card for 250 grams of flour.
When there are not full rations to be had, the applicant gets the
percentage available. This applies to every one, rich and poor alike."

Thanks to the efficient work of the Commission, fully seventy-five per
cent. of the Belgians receiving food were able to pay for it. This was
due to the clever financiering of Mr. Hoover and his committee, who
managed, by an ingenious method, to raise the depreciated paper currency
to par value.

Putting gift and purchase cargoes together there were delivered in a
single month, "twenty-five thousand tons of wheat, thirty thousand tons
of flour, eleven thousand tons of maize, fifteen hundred tons of rice,
five hundred and forty-six tons of peas, four thousand tons of beans,
one hundred and seven tons of potatoes, one hundred and twelve tons of
salt, with thirty-six hundred tons of sundries."

In the spring Antwerp and Brussels were feeding about two hundred and
eighty thousand people twice a day. At least four million people are
getting their food through the National Commission. Those who can pay
for it do so. Food is given in the bread line to those who cannot pay.
At first only workmen appeared in the line, then small shopkeepers, and
later professional men.

West of the road from Antwerp to Mons the people are being fed. East of
the road the Germans did not permit it during the winter. In April,
however, it was arranged that the Commission should also feed Northern
France. In June General von Bissing permitted the Commission to furnish
grain for seed, to be planted and harvested by Belgian peasants for
their own use. The report of the Commission for the first year of the
war showed that for the people of Belgium and the 2,500,000 French
people hemmed in behind the German battle front, an expenditure of
$10,000,000 a month was required.

The despatch of a shipload of food every other day from America during
the winter constituted the largest commissary that the world has ever
seen. "The Fleet of Mercy is constantly making voyages." Every cent
collected in America for the purchase of food was spent in America. It
is said that up to May 1st the United States made gifts amounting to
about six million dollars. The American Relief Commission today has
branches not only in the United States, Canada and Holland, but also in
London and Belgium and France. From sixteen American seaports food has
been sent direct to Belgium. Forty-eight States, the District of
Columbia and Hawaii, organized Belgian Relief Committees, and endless
sub-committees. Thirty-seven of the States of the Union are represented
by the women's section.

Queen Elizabeth, now called the "Wandering Queen," sent this letter to
thank the women of this Commission:

     "It gives me great pleasure to accept the invitation which has
     been transmitted to me to become a patroness of the Women's
     Section of the American Commission for Relief in Belgium. I
     wish to extend to the women of America the deep gratitude of
     the women of Belgium for the work which they are doing for my
     people. The food which your country is daily providing to our
     women and children comes like a ray of sunshine in the darkest
     hour in Belgium's history. The Belgian women have fought a
     brave fight, and are still fighting for the common cause of
     human liberty, so dear to every American woman's heart.


       *       *       *       *       *

By May 1st the New York Belgian Fund amounted to more than a million
dollars. California raised over a hundred thousand in a day. Chicago has
been conspicuous with large gifts. Kansas sent a great quantity of
flour, and Mr. Wanamaker of Philadelphia shipped cargoes worth half a
million dollars.

The New England Committee believes that its results up to May first are
substantially as follows: Cash collected, $300,000; value of goods
collected, $100,000; money sent from New England direct to New York,
$50,000; and goods sent to New York, about $50,000. The Kermesse
Flamande cleared $15,000, and Madame Vandervelde's meetings raised about
$14,000 in Boston alone. Three ship-loads of food and clothing left
Boston harbour.

[Illustration: THE _HARPALYCE_] Copyright by Boston Photo News Co.

The _Harpalyce_ was the first and largest of the ships. She sailed on
January 7th, reaching Rotterdam the 23d. On April 10th, while on another
voyage, she was torpedoed in the North Sea. She carried a crew of
fifty-three men, twenty-six of whom were drowned, among them the
captain, whom we knew personally.

The work of Madame Vandervelde while she was in this country deserves
special mention. She is an English woman, the wife of Emile Vandervelde,
the leader of the Socialists in Belgium. He had several times been
offered a place in the Cabinet but had refused. When the war broke out,
however, feeling that he could be of real service to his country, he
became one of the Ministers of State. He came with the Minister of
Justice, Monsieur Carton de Wiart, an old friend of ours, and several
others, as one of a commission sent to America in the autumn of 1914.
Madame Vandervelde followed shortly to make a lecture tour in the United
States. We found her a charming and well-educated woman, and a speaker
of unusual power. She came to this country in a spirit of splendid
patriotism for the sake of helping Belgium.

Before the food question became urgent, she asked for money to help the
Belgian refugees return to their homes. But this did not seem wise, as
we shall see from a report quoted below, so the money that she collected
was turned into food.

"For example, the towns Waelhem, Malines, Duffel, and Lierre, are
reduced practically to ruins and are certainly not in a condition to
receive back more than one-third of their ordinary population. There is,
moreover, a smell of decay in the air, which probably proceeds from
corpses buried in the ruins, which may, at any time, breed a pestilence.
To send people back to their homes when those homes no longer exist, I
believe to be cruel. Visé and Tamines and, I suppose, ten or a dozen
other small towns in Belgium, are practically in the same condition as
those I visited, desolate and uninhabitable, half of their houses
wrecked, many scattered and isolated farmhouses practically destroyed,
and a considerable portion of the land under cultivation laid waste,
either by military operations or by inundation for defense.

"There is no work. The factories are closed because they have no raw
material, coal, or petrol, and because they have no markets. And yet war
taxes are falling with hideous pressure upon a people whose hands are
empty, whose workshops are closed, whose fields are idle, whose cattle
have been taken."

In one of her lectures Madame Vandervelde said: "The sight of the poor
refugees streaming into Antwerp from Louvain and Malines, women with
babies in their arms, older children clinging to their skirts, men
wheeling their decrepit fathers in wheelbarrows or helping along a
crippled brother or son, is more pitiful than any words can express."

From the reports in the daily papers, Madame Vandervelde said, one knows
little of the overwhelming nature of the tragedy. She told many
interesting stories of the land which had been ravaged by the horrors of
war, and the murderous raids of the Zeppelins.

Her mission was not a political one; it was a plea for help. She arrived
in September, bringing good letters of introduction. Wherever she
spoke--in private houses on Long Island, at Beverly, Mass., or Dublin,
New Hampshire, or in cities--she was so attractive, and her appeal was
so pathetic, that people wept and opened their pocketbooks. In the big
cities of Canada she spoke in halls and churches, and was most
enthusiastically received. From Syracuse she went to Chicago, also to
St. Paul and Minneapolis, starting committees where they did not already
exist. At Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston she was especially successful
in raising money. She was present at the sailing of several of the food
ships, when hundreds of people crowded the docks, speeches were made,
and patriotic music played.

Three thousand people attended the mass meeting at Tremont Temple, in
Boston, and over a thousand were turned away. She went to Providence and
then to New Haven, where she was introduced by ex-President Taft. She
was introduced in Boston by Bishop Lawrence, and in Baltimore by
Cardinal Gibbons. A large meeting was held for her in Cooper Union Hall
in New York. During her stay in Washington she visited the Belgian
Minister and his wife. Where committees were already started, she turned
over the money she made to them. She sailed for Europe on the third of
April, having raised about three hundred thousand dollars.

Her last lecture before sailing contained these words: "We, the Allies,
do not want peace. We appreciate the well meaning, high minded, noble
Americans who are planning a conference at your national capital whereby
the neutral nations shall decide on some peace plan to be submitted to
the belligerent nations without armistice, but we cannot hear of peace
at this or any other time until Prussian army caste has been wiped from
the face of Europe. We want peace, but only peace with honour, and
lasting peace. Peace now, before militarism has been conquered, will not
be lasting peace. At the most, it would only be for five or six years,
until Prussian militarism could reconstruct itself, and then the whole
reign of terror for all Europe would begin again. We can scarcely
understand an attitude that would even suggest peace at this time. Such
an attitude is embarrassing."


Just as Madame Vendervelde left the country, Madame Depage arrived to
take her place. She had had experience in the Balkan War, when she
accompanied her husband to Constantinople and acted as an auxiliary
nurse. She directed the equipment of the hospital and within a very
short time had turned the building into one of the best military
hospitals in Europe. During the present war she has aided in the
establishment of a large number of military hospitals, not only in
Brussels but also in other Belgian cities. When Brussels was taken the
Germans seized the hospitals and devoted them to their own uses. The
Governor-General of Belgium issued a decree breaking up the organization
of the Belgian Red Cross. All the funds were seized, and the archives
were handed over to a German officer, who was appointed to carry on the
work. It is said that forty thousand dollars' worth of Red Cross
supplies was taken over. As the National Belgian Headquarters of the Red
Cross were in Brussels, the heads of the organization were temporarily
cut off from the army.

Dr. Depage stayed with the King while his wife remained in the capital
until she received word from him that she was needed at the front. She
made her way to Holland, then to England, and then to Calais. Her
husband was at that time in charge of the Gendarme Ambulance. He gave
her some orderlies and told her to proceed to La Panne and select a site
for a military hospital. She found an empty hotel, and had things ready
with three hundred beds when the Doctor arrived from Calais to take
charge. Now there are a thousand beds, and he has a large corps of

As Belgium was not receiving American Red Cross supplies, for the simple
reason that it seemed impossible to reach their headquarters, Madame
Depage came to this country to solve the difficulty. She was here only a
short time, but obtained a hundred thousand dollars by her lectures. Our
American Red Cross had previously contributed thirty thousand dollars
through the Belgian Relief Commission, and gave Madame Depage thirteen
thousand more, besides promising six surgeons and twenty-four nurses to
Belgium, furnishing two field hospitals and paying for their maintenance
for six months. The total gifts of the American Red Cross organization
have amounted to about $100,000. Fortunately the money that Madame
Depage raised was deposited here, for this brave, executive woman went
down on the _Lusitania_.


ALLEN, GRANT: Belgium: Its Cities

AMES, F. T.: Between the Lines in Belgium

BOULGER, D. C.: Belgium of the Belgians
-- Belgian Life in Town and Country

BUMPUS, T. F.: Cathedrals and Churches of Belgium

BITHELL, J.: Contemporaneous Belgian Poetry

BODE, W.: Great Masters

CLAFLIN, W. H.: Holland and Belgium

CONWAY, W. M.: Early Flemish Artists


DELEPIERRE, OCTAVE: History of Flemish Literature

DAVIS, R. H.: With the Allies

EDWARDS, G. W.: Old Flemish Towns

ENSOR, R. C. K.: Belgium

FROMENTIN, EUGÈNE: Les maîtres d'autrefois

GILBERT, EUGÈNE: France et Belgique

GRIFFIS, W. E.: Belgium the Land of Art

HOLLAND, CLIVE: Belgians at Home

HUNTER, G. L.: Tapestries

HUET, C. B.: Land of Rubens

HYMANS, LOUIS: Bruxelles à travers les ages

JOURDAIN, M.: Old Lace

KAUFFMAN, R. W.: In a Moment of Time

MAC DONNELL, J. DE C.: Belgium, Her Kings and People
  -- King Leopold II
  -- Albert, King of the Belgians

OMOND, G. W. T.: Belgium

POPLIMONT --: Heraldry

POTVIN, CHARLES: Nos premiers siècles littéraires

POWELL, E. A.: Fighting in Flanders

  Washington and Columbia Printing Co.: Facts About Belgium
  Belgian Government: Diplomatic Correspondence respecting the War
  German Commanders in Belgium: Why Belgium Was Devastated
  Commission on International Law: Reports

ROOSES, MAX: Art in Flanders

REA, HOPE: Great Masters (Rubens)

RICE, W. G.: Carillons of Belgium and Holland

SOUTHEY, ROBERT: Netherlands in 1815

STEVENSON, R. L.: An Inland Voyage

SCOTT, W. B.: Gems of Modern Painters

SINGLETON, ESTHER: Art of the Belgian Galleries

SHARP, WILLIAM: La jeune Belgique

SMITH, E. GILLIAT: Story of Brussels

SAROLEA, DR. CHARLES: How Belgium Saved Europe

THOMPSON --: The Belgian Renascence

VALENTINER, W. R.: The Art of the Low Countries

WAUTERS, A. J.: La peinture flamande

ZWEIG, STEFAN: Emile Verhaeren



    Adelbert (Prince), 34

    Adoration of the Lamb, the, 182, 184, 236

    Adoration of the Magi, 195, 196

    Aerschot, 373, 393

    Africa, 113, 116

    Aisny, 393

    Aix-la-Chapelle, treaty of, 101

    Albert, Archduke, 99

    Alfred the Great, 70

    Algini, 307-313

    Alost, 97, 210

    Alva, Duke of, 96, 192

    American Club, 51
      Students' Club, 55-6

    Ancienne Cour, 94

    Andenne, 351, 352

    Angel's Mass, 30

    Angers, 162, 171

    Anseele, Edouard, 151

    Antwerp, 8, 37, 68, 94, 97, 98, 99, 111, 124, 137, 138, 162, 202,
        230, 233-236, 282-283, 331, 342, 366, 371, 383, 384, 418, 423
      Academy, 204
      Cathedral, 147, 234, 262
      Museum, 189, 195

    Antwerp, Legends of, 255
      Antigon, 255-262
      Yvon Bruggermans, 262-275
      Frügger the Miser, 275-303
      The Blacksmith of Antwerp, 303-313
      The Milk Girl, 313-330

    Apocalypse (tapestries), 171

    Archdukes Albert and Isabella, 165, 194

    Ardennes, the, 331, 332, 341, 344

    Arenberg, Duc d', 34
      Duchesse d', 34
      (family), 34

    Arquenne, 333

    Arras, 162, 170
      Assembly of, 88
      Tapestries, 168, 169

    Artevelde, Jacob van (the Brewer of Ghent), 82, 83, 238
      Philip van, 84

    Assche, Comte d', 20
      Palais d', 2, 7, 20
      (family), 389, 399

    Aubusson, 170

    Audennes, 374, 392

    Augustus, 66

    Austrian Succession, war of, 101

    Aymon, sons of, 348


    Baldwin (_Bras-de-fer_), 69, 74
      Second, 70
      King of Edessa, 73
      Count of Hainault and Flanders, 73
      Fifth, Count of Flanders, 75
      Sixth, Count of Flanders, 76, 78

    Bataille, Nicolas, 171, 173

    Bates, Mr. Lindon W., 412

    Baudouin, Prince, 119

    Bavaria, John of, 185

    Bayard, 348-350
      Rock of, 348

    Beauvais, 170

    Beeckmans (the), 389

    Beernaert, Minister of State, 35

    Beers, van, 210

    Beethoven, 52

      in Ghent, 146, 237
      in Bruges, 238

    Belgica, 66, 67

    Bel, Jean le, 209

    Beloeil, 332, 334-335

    Berryer, M., 35

    Beughems, de (the), 13, 389

    Beuken, 372

    Biefve, Edouárd, 202

    Black Prince, 83

    Blanc-Grin, 204

    Blondel, 17

    Blücher, 104

    Bodel, Jean, 208

    Boehn, von, 368

    "Boerenbonden," 135

    Boitsfort, 58

    Boma, 118

    Borinage, the, 140, 335

    Bosel, 379

    Bouvignes, 353

    "Brabançonne," the, 210, 381

    Brabant, 18, 58, 80, 84, 87, 142
      Governor of, 8

    Braekeleer, Henri de, 203

    Brant, Isabella, 194

    Braquenié, Brothers, 166

    Brederode, de, 95

    Breuil, du, 173

    Brieux, 378

    Broqueville, Baron de, 137

    Bruges, 17, 18, 68, 70, 74, 75, 80, 81, 84, 90, 93, 98, 99, 111,
        162, 180, 185, 187, 238-242
      Belfry of, 240

    Brussels, 2, 8, 9, 12, 16, 17, 85, 100, 119, 162, 163, 164, 230,
        331, 342, 356, 364-365, 378, 382, 388, 389, 416, 418
      life in, 43-64

    Buelow, von, 368

    Buisseret, Comte de, 2
      Caroline de, 7, 24

    Burgundian Sacraments, 159, 189

    Burgundy, dukes of, 18, 89
      (county of), 92, 99
      (duchy of), 86, 92


    Cæsar, 65, 259

    Calais, 83, 87, 88, 371, 380, 426

    Calvé, 53

    Cambre, Parc de la, 58, 59
      Bois de la, 62

    Cassel, victory of, 79

    Cats, le Vieux, 209

    Caxton, William, 240

    Cercle du Parc, 38

    "Chambers of Rhetoric," 208

    "Chansons des Saxons," 208

    Charlemagne, 16, 68, 74, 243, 341, 343, 348, 349, 350

    Charleroi, 139, 342, 363, 374

    Charles V, 18, 92, 93, 94, 159, 209, 263

    Charles the Rash, 91, 160, 170, 172, 187
      Prince, of Lorraine, 101
      the Sixth (of France), 84
      the Seventh (of France), 89
      Prince, of Hohenzollern, 120
      the Bald, 69

    Charles Theodore (of Bavaria), 25

    Charlotte, Princess, 108
      (Empress), 108

    Chasseurs, 61

    Christianity, 58, 69

    Church, the, 71, 79, 130, 132, 151

    Ciergnon, 120, 346

    Ciney, cow of, 351-353

    Cinquantenaire, the, 61
      Palais du, 60
      Museum, 119

    Clary, Comtesse, 24

    Clémentine, 109, 110

    Clericals (political party), 112, 127-130, 133-135, 137

    Clovis, King of the Franks, 67, 68, 69

    Colbert, 171

    Cologne, 17

    Comans and Planche, 171, 173

    Commission for Relief in Belgium, the (American), 412, 420

    Congo State, the, 114-119
      Museum, 51, 119

    Congress of Vienna, 103, 106

    Conjoux, 392, 393

    Conscience, Henri, 210-212

    Conservatoire, the, 53

    Constitution (Belgian), 107

    Cortemarch, 396

    Coster, Charles de, 210

    Courouble, Leopold, 220

    Courtrai, 68, 70, 80, 143, 247, 331

    Crève-Coeur, 353

    Cross, Descent from the, 195
      Elevation of, 195

    Crown Prince (of Belgium), 123

    Crown Prince (of Germany), 30
      (of Roumania), 30

    Croÿ, Prince Henri de, 338, 339
      (family), 335, 336, 339

    Crusades, 71, 74


    David, Abbe, 210

    David and Goliath (tapestries), 176

    Davignon, Madame, 12

    Deg, van, 305-313

    Democrats (political party), 127

    Demolder, Eugène, 220

    Depage, Dr., 397, 426
      Madame, 425, 426, 427

    Derouette, Colonel, 3

    Dhanis, Baron, 115

    Diana (tapestries), 173-176

    Dieckmann, Major, 369

    Digue, the, 243

    Dinant, 65, 341, 346, 350, 366, 374, 383, 392, 393

    Dixmude, 247, 367

    Donnan, Miss, 56

    Duffel, 422

    Dunkirk, 400, 401, 402

    Dyck, Anthony van, 199-201


    Edwards, George Wharton, 241

    Egmont, Count, 34, 91, 95, 96, 247

    Eilbert, Count, 346-347

    Elst, Baron von der, 57

    Emilie Louise, 108

    Emmich, von, 368

    Enghien, 162, 163, 332, 333

    Eugene, Prince, 100

    Eyck, Jan van, 183-186, 187, 189, 190
      Hubert, 179, 180, 182, 183-186
      Margaret, 183

    Eycks, the, 179, 189, 191, 240


    Fancy Fair, the, 47

    Farnese, Alexander, Prince of Parma, 98

    Ferdinand and Isabella, 92

    Flamberge, 349

    Flanders, 13, 14, 18, 33, 67, 73, 74, 75, 76

    Flanders, Count of, 69
      Robert, Count of, 73
      (Counts of), 352

    Flandre, Comtesse de, 10, 28, 29, 30, 47, 340
      Comte de, 25
      Philip, 108, 119

    Flemings, 67, 126

    Forêt, Comte Raymond de, 333

    Fourment, Helena, 194

    Francis I, 93

    Franks, 66, 67, 68
      Salian, 66

    French, General, 410, 411

    Freya, cave of, 347

    Frügger, 275-303

    Furnes, 248
      Procession of Penance at, 249-251


    Galliat, Louis, 202

    Galsworthy, John (quoted), 356

    Garde Civique, 29

    Gates of the Apostles (tapestry), 169

    Gaul, 66, 67, 68

    Gauls, the, 65, 66

    Geographical Congress, 113

    Gerard, Baron, 76

    Geubles, Jacques, 174

    Ghent, 18, 68, 70, 74, 81, 84, 90, 93, 97, 98, 139, 142, 150,
         236-238, 239, 393, 394
      "Pacification of ----," 97

    Gilles, Dancing, 336-338

    Glesener, Edmond, 213

    Gobelins (Jean and Philip), 167, 170, 171

    Godfrey of Bouillon ("Advocate" of Jerusalem), 72, 73

    Godfrey the Bearded, Count, 17

    Golden Fleece, Order of, 90, 91, 185

    Goltz, Baron von der, 368

    Grammont, 76, 78

    Grand Council, 87

    Grande Harmonie, Société de la, 147

    Grande Place (Brussels), 48-49, 96, 100, 365
      (Ypres), 251

    Grant-Smith, 3

    Grenadiers, 3

    Grétry, 52

    Groenendal, 58, 59
      Château, 59

    Grunne, de, 339

    Gueux, the, 95

    Guides Regiment, 4, 60, 61

    Guy (of Anderlecht), 14, 15, 16


    Haarlem, 96

    Hainault, 33, 79, 87, 141, 142, 331

    Hal, 332, 333

    Han, 345
      Grottes de, 345-346

    Hall, Mr., 123

    Hapsburgs, the, 19

    Havre, 137, 342, 371

    Havré, 336

    Hennebicq, 76

    Henry, Cardinal of Winchester, 88

    Herzèle, 247

    Hill, Mr. James J., 121

    Hoboken, 282

    Hochstetter, 284-303

    Hofstade, 366

    Holland, 12, 87, 98

    Holy Blood, chapel of, 239

    Hoorn, Count, 91, 95, 96

    Hoover, Mr., 412, 417

    Hôtel de Ville (Brussels), 16, 48, 49, 166

    Hougomont, 63, 104

    Houllos, 139

    Hubert, St., 58, 345


    Inquisition, 18, 96, 236

    International Association for the Suppression of the Slave Trade
      and the Opening of Central Africa, 114

    Isabella, Duchess (of Burgundy), 89
      Princess (of Portugal), 90, 185
      Infanta, 99, 165


    Jacqueline of Bavaria, 86, 87

    Jallet, 352

    Jenneval, 210

    Joanna, 92

    Johanna, 84

    John the First, 17
      the Fearless, 86
      Don, of Austria, 97

    Jordaens, Jacob, 165, 191, 199, 200

    Josephine (Princess), 119

    Joseph II, 101, 102

    Joyous Entry, the, 84, 100, 110, 194

    Judith, 69

    Jungblüth, General, 120

    Jupille, 342, 343


    Karcher, Nicholas and Jean, 173

    King Albert Hospital, 386

    King of the Belgians, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 25, 26, 27, 30, 41, 42, 57,
      61, 117-125, 137, 147, 371, 381, 384, 395, 396, 400


    La Belle Alliance, 63, 104

    Lac d'Amour, 238

    Laeken, 25, 30, 39, 40, 41, 42, 51, 112, 394

    La Haye Sainte, 63, 104

    Lalaing, Comte de, 380

    Lalaing, Countess van, 193

    Lambeaux, Jef, 205

    Lambremont, Baron, 120

    La Panne, 367, 391, 395, 397, 400, 401, 402, 426

    "La Princesse Maleine," 216

    La Roches, 345

    Last Communion of St. Francis, 198

    _L'Echo Belge_, 386

    Ledeganck, 210

    Legation, 2, 3, 20

    Lemonnier, Camille, 213

    Leopold I (Prince, of Saxe-Coburg), 107, 108, 374

    Leopold II, King, 19, 25, 32, 39, 42, 51, 85, 108-114, 242
      Prince, 395
      of Austria, 102

    Le Pays Noir, 140

    Lerberghe, Charles van, 221, 222, 224

    Le Roeulx, 339

    Lesbroussart, 210

    Leys, 202

    Liberals (political party), 112, 127, 129, 132-134

    Liège, 52, 69, 124, 136, 139, 141-144, 331, 341, 342, 343, 361-363,
        371, 374, 377, 392
      Bishop of, 58, 70, 89
      Marshal of, 352

    Lierre, 422

    Ligne, Prince Charles de, 32, 33, 332
      Princesse, 33, 34, 391, 392
      Prince George de, 388
      (family), 10, 31, 33, 332, 334, 335
      Prince Edward, 391

    Ligny, 103

    Lille, 162

    Limburg, 84

    Locquenghieu, Chevalier de, 8

    Lombaertzyde, 248

    Lorand, M., 116, 117

    Lorinnes, Curé of, 393

    Lorraine (Lotharingia), 74, 91
      Count Lambert of, 16
      Duke Charles of, 16
      Prince Charles of, 101

    Loti, Pierre, 251

    Louis XIV, 34, 100

    Louis XI of France, 92

    Louise, 109

    Louvain, 18, 52, 84, 230-232, 371, 372, 373, 374, 384, 393, 423
      Counts of, 70

    Louvain, University of, 94, 231, 373
      Hotel de Ville, 230, 232
      Cathedral, 370

    Lovenjoul, Vicomte de Spoelberch, de, 220

    Low Countries, 51, 68, 92, 93, 97

    Luetwitz, von, 369

    Luxembourg, 87, 341, 383
      Duke of, 2
      Counts of, 351, 352, 359


    Maecht, Philip de, 173

    Maele, Louis de, 83, 84

    Maestricht, 97

    Maeterlinck, 152, 207, 213-219, 224, 237

    Maison du Peuple, 152

    Maison du Roi, 46, 96

    Malines (Mechlin), 147, 195, 196, 200, 232-233, 366, 370, 371, 374,
        422, 423
      Cathedral, 233

    Mannikin, the, 49

    Marburg, Mr., 20

    Margaret of Austria, 92, 159 of Parma, 94-96

    Marie Elizabeth, Archduchess, 100

    Marie Henriette, Archduchess, 109

    Marie José, Princess, 25

    Marie - Louise - Alexandrine-Caroline, 119

    Marie, Jean de, 89

    Marncourt, Renard de, 173

    Marriage of St. Catherine, 186, 187

    Martel, Charles, 68

    Mary (of Burgundy), 92

    Matilda, 75

    Matsys, Quentin, 144, 191,
      (Blacksmith of Antwerp), 303-313

    Maugis, 349

    Max, Burgomaster, 8, 9, 364

    Maximilian of Austria, 92
      Second, 99

    Maximilian of Austria (Emperor), 108

    Melba, 53

    Melis, 13, 14

    Melusine, 333

    Memling, Hans, 179, 186-189, 190, 191, 240

    Menapians, 66

    Mercier, Cardinal, 370, 375

    Mérode, Comte Jean de, 5
      Comtesse, 31, 392
      (family), 389

    Meunier, Constantin, 205

    Meuse (river), 331, 332, 349, 353, 361
      Valley, 65, 346

    Michael the Archangel, 16

    Middelkerke, 367

    Middlebourg, 162

    Minister, American, 2, 8, 388, 399

    Minister of Foreign Affairs, 11, 12

    Minister, Spanish, 8, 382

    Miraculous Draught of Fishes, 195, 196

    Mockel, Albert, 223

    Monnaie, Place de la, 50

    Mons, 140, 335-336, 364, 411, 418

    Moor, Baron de, 4

    Mortlake, 167, 170, 173

    "Musette de Portici," 107


    Namur, 79, 331, 341, 342, 353-354, 363, 374, 384
      Counts of, 70, 351, 352

    Napoleon, 102-105, 147

    Napoleon III, 108

    Nash, Miss Hildegarde, 55

    Netherlands, 68, 70, 74, 75, 92, 94, 99, 170, 171
      Austrian, 100, 231
      United, 106

    Neuve Chapelle, 403

    Nibelungen Lied, 207

    Nieker, von, 369

    Nieuport, 248, 367, 395

    Nieuport-Bains, 248

    Nieuwenhoven, Martin van, 187

    Noort, Adam van, 193

    Normans, 69, 75

    Notre Dame du Sablon, 158
      Church of, 158 (Malines), 195, 196, 370


    OEuvre des Soldats Belges, Franco-American, 13

    Ophem, 339

    Orange, Prince of, 8
      (William the Silent), 95, 97, 98
      Nassau, family of, 107
      House of, 192

    Ostend, 137, 236, 242-244, 342, 367, 379, 390

    Oudenarde, 162, 163, 164, 165


    Pack, Governor, 37

    Paele, Canon van de, 185, 186
      Madonna of, 185-6

    Palais de Justice, 365

    Palais de la Nation, 50

    Pannemaker, Willem de, 172

    Papal Nuncio, 8, 10, 38

    Parnasse de la Jeune Belgique, la, 213

    Pendleton, Miss Charlotte, 168

    Penelope, 161

    Pepin of Heristall, 68
      the Short, 342

    Perch, Baron de, 8

    Perwez, 340

    Peter the Hermit, 72

    Philip of Alsace (Count of Flanders), 73, 79, 208
      the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, 84, 86
      the Good, 16, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 159, 183, 185, 187, 240
      Second, of Spain, 91, 93, 94, 96, 97, 98, 99, 172, 209
      the Fair, 92, 159

    Philip, Duke, of Saxe-Coburg, 109

    Philippeville, 393

    Picardie, 346

    Pirenne, Henri, 220

    Plantyn-Moretus Museum, 234

    Plantyn, Christopher, 234

    Pléiade, 213

    Poe, 242

    Poplimont (quoted), 33

    Potvin, Charles, 207, 212

    Prier, Toussaint, 163


    Quartier Leopold, 20, 50, 51

    Quatre Bras, 103, 104

    Queen, the (of the Belgians), 6, 7, 10, 11, 25, 26, 27, 41, 42, 47,
      61, 122, 123, 125, 147, 148, 381, 391, 395, 400, 419


    Raes, Jean, 174

    Red Cross, American, 400, 426, 427

    Renkin, M., 117

    Requesens, 97

    _Revue de Belgique_, 212

    Rhine, 66, 67

    Richard, Earl of Warwick, 88

    Richilde, Countess of Hainault and Namur, 79

    Robert the Frisian, 79

    Rochefort, 345

    Rodenbach, Georges, 224

    Roi, Jean Grégoire le, 214, 221

    Roland (bell), 93, 238

    Rombeaux, Egide, 205

    Ronner, Madame, 204

    Roosbeke, battle of, 84

    Rooses, Max, 163, 202, 205

    Roost, Jean, 173

    Rouart, 349

    Roubaix, Jean de, 185, 247

    Roulers, 244
      Convent at, 244-246

    Rubens, Peter Paul, 99, 191-199, 200
      John, 192

    Rudolph, Crown Prince, of Austria, 109

    Ruysbroeck, 209


    Sainte Barbe, College of, 214, 224

    Saint-Vaast, monastery of, 89

    "Salon Bleu," 26

    Sambre (river), 332, 353, 354

    Saxe, Marshal, 19, 101

    Saxon League, 67

    Saxony, Anne of, 192

    Schaffen, 372

    Scheldt, the, 13, 69, 74, 235, 255, 331

    Scott, William B., 184

    Seaman, Major, 121

    Sempst, 366

    Senne, the, 15, 17

    Severin, Fernand, 222

    Sluys, victory of, 83

    Socialism, 127, 151

    Socialists (political party), 127, 129, 135, 137

    Soignes, Forêt de, 57, 58, 59, 340, 397

    Somme, the, 69

    Spa, 341, 343-344

    Spaniards' Castle, 93

    "Spanish Fury," 97

    Spanish Netherlands, 33

    St. André, church of, 279

    St. Géry, church of, 16

    St. Gudule, church of, 10, 29, 30

    St. Hubert, church of, 344
      hermitage of, 354

    St. Ives, college of, 373

    St. Jean, 62

    St. John's Hospital (Bruges), 186

    St. Peter and St. Guy, church of, 16

    St. Peter, church of (Louvain), 143, 373

    St. Quentin, 364

    Stanley, 114

    States-General, 87, 94

    Stephanie, 109, 110

    Stevens, 204

    Stoelkens, Beatrix, 158

    Storer, Mr. Bellamy, 20

    Straten, Pierre van der, 399


    Tamines, 374, 422

    Teniers, David, 165

    Terlinden, Lieutenant, 62

    Termeire, 12

    Termonde, 236, 366, 393

    Théâtre de la Monnaie, 106

    Third Estate, 87

    Thompson, 53-54

    Tirlemont, 375

    Tongres, Lucius de, 207

    Tournai, 69, 162, 163, 374, 379

    Tremeloo, 372

    "Triumphs and Types of the Eucharist," 165

    Troyes, Crestien de, 208

    Truce of God, the, 79

    Tyndale, 232


    United Belgian States, 102

    Ursel, Duc d', 13, 57
      Comte Wolfgang d', 32
      Comtesse Wolfgang d', 32
      Duchesse, 13, 31, 32, 57
      Duchess Dowager, 13, 32
      family, 31, 32
      Palais, 32

    Ursula, St., 188-9
      Mother, 245

    Utrecht, Union of, 98
      peace of, 99


    Vanderkindère, 212

    Vandervelde, M., 115, 116, 127, 137
      Madame, 95, 421, 423, 425

    Veen, Otto van, 193

    Vendôme, Duc de, 120
      Henriette, 120

    Verhaeren, Emile, 124, 210, 213, 223-229, 362

    Verviers, 143, 384

    Vesalius, Andreas, 18

    Victor Napoleon, Prince, 109

    Vilain XIIII, Comte, 34, 35

    Villaloba, Marquis, 8

    Villeroi, Marshal, 19

    Vilvorde, 232

    Visé, 331, 360, 393, 422

    Volkson, Father von, 379

    Vondel, 209

    Vooruit, the, 151-2

    Vydts, Jodocus, 183, 184


    Waal, 66

    Waelhem, 422

    Walker, Madame, 54

    Walloon (Provinces), 13, 67, 139
      (individuals), 72
      (people), 98, 126, 331, 332

    Warlemont, Maurice, 213

    Waterloo, 59, 62-64, 103, 104, 106

    Waulsort, 346, 347

    Wauters, 204

    Wavre, 340

    Waxweiler, M., 120

    Wellington (Duke of), 103, 104

    Wenzel of Luxembourg, 84

    Werchter Wackerzeel, 372

    Westende, 367

    Weyden, Roger van der, 163, 189, 190

    Whitlock, Mr. Brand, 8, 20, 382, 412

    Wiart, M. Carton de, 35, 421,
      Madame, 369

    Wielt, 396

    Wiertz, 203
      Museum, 203, 212

    Willebroeck Canal, 8

    Willems, 210

    William the Conqueror, 75
      First, 106

    Woelmonts (the), 399


    Ypres, 61, 70, 90, 98, 210, 251-254, 367, 387

    Ysaye, 53-54

    Yser, the, 124, 247, 248, 249, 367, 380, 394


    Zealand, 87

    Zèvecote, Jacques van, 209

    Zoellner, Miss, 56

    Zweig, Stefan, 224

       *       *       *       *       *


    _Each volume with one or more colored plates
    and many illustrations from original drawings
    or special photographs. Octavo, decorative
    cover, gilt top, boxed._       _Per volume, $3.75_







    By Burton E. Stevenson





    53 Beacon Street      Boston, Mass.

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