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contains an image of the Virgin, which annually works a great many miracles, and her shrine is thickly furnished with votive offerings in consequence. The Hôtel de Ville is a Gothic building, profusely ornamented with carvings.
At Dixmude, about 8 m. E. of Furnes, is a fine and large Gothic church, containing a stone Roodscreen of most elaborate and beautiful workmanship, in an excessively florid (flamboyant) style, corresponding, though not identical, with our Tudor architecture. Over the high altar hangs a chef-d'œuvre of Jordaens, the Adoration of the Magi.
The direct road from Furnes to Ostend is a long stage of 4 posts by Nieuwport, a strong fortress, memorable for the victory gained on the sandhills outside its walls at Westende, by Prince Maurice of Nassau, in 1600, over the Spaniards. His brother, Prince Frederic Henry, then only 15, and several young English noblemen, led on by Sir Francis and Horace Vere, served under him. When the action was about to commence, Maurice, who foresaw that it would be a bloody engagement, and had made up his mind to conquer or perish, recommended the youthful band to return to Ostend, and reserve themselves for some other occasion. They scorned to accept the suggestion, and determined to share all the perils of the contest. In the first onset Sir Francis Vere was desperately wounded, and the English volunteers suffered severely, though they gave an eminent example of courage. The good generalship of Prince Maurice was never more conspicuous than on that day, and the arms of the patriots were eventually triumphant.
As there is nothing at all to see at Ostend, travellers had better make directly for Bruges by Ghistelles, by which they will be gainers in time and distance.
3 Ghistelles. This is a pretty village, named from the stable, or stud, of the Counts of Flanders, which was situated here, attached to the old Castle, light remains of which still exist.
the neighbourhood is a nunnery and Church, containing the monument of St. Godaliève, wife of Bertulf, Lord of Ghistelles, in the 11th century, who was strangled by her husband through jealousy, and is now worshipped as a saint. Her bones lie in a shrine of brass, before which a lamp burns night and day. Above her altar is a group of 3 figures, as large as life, representing the murder.
2 Bruges. See Route 21.
LONDON TO ANTWERP BY THE SCHELDE.
About 210 m. A Belgian and 2 English steamers go from London every Sunday and Thursday; from Antwerp every Sunday and Wednesday. Fares: chief cabin, 21. 2s., second cabin, 17. 12s. 6d., a carriage, 47., and in returning much less. The voyage occupies from 20 to 24 hrs., 7 of which are taken up in descending the Thames, and 6 in ascending the Schelde. The return passage is usually shorter.
The course from the Thames to the Schelde is almost a straight line. It was the situation of the Schelde, immediately opposite the mouth of the English river and the port of London, that caught the attention of Napoleon, who saw what advantageous use might be made of such a harbour to annoy the English in war, or rival them in commerce.
On entering the mouth of the river called the Hond, or West Schelde, the land on the left hand is Walcheren, the largest of the 9 islands which form the province of Zealand, or Sea land. The district is most appropriately named, since the greater part of it lies many feet below the level of the sea; it may, therefore, truly be said to appertain naturally to that element. The isles of Zealand, separated from one another by the different branches of the Schelde, are protected from the inroads of the ocean, partly by natural sand-banks or dunes (§ 12.), partly by enormous dykes or sea-walls (§ 9.), which measure more than 300 miles in extent,
and cost annually more than 2 millions of florins to keep them in repair. Of the great dyke at West Cappel, in the island of Walcheren, it is said, that, had it been originally made of solid copper, the first cost would have been less than the sums already expended in building and repairing it. The polders, or drained and dyked meadows, are divided by the water engineers into 2 classes: those nearest the sea or river, which are of course most exposed to inundation, are called polders calamiteux; the more distant are distinguished as non calamiteux. The first class requires stronger dykes, the maintenance of which is considered so important, that they are kept up partly at the expense of government; those further inland, not being equally exposed to danger, are maintained by the province or by private individuals.
A large portion of the country being thus partitioned out, as it were, by dykes, even should the outer or seadyke break, the extent of the disaster is limited by these inner defences, and the further ravages of the flood are prevented. Notwithstanding the care with which they are continually watched, a rupture took place, in 1808, in the great dyke of West Cappel, by which a great part of the island of Walcheren was inundated; the sea stood as high as the roofs of the houses in the streets of Middleburg, and the destruction of that town was prevented solely by the strength of its walls.
The whole province is most fertile and productive, especially in corn and madder, which may be considered the staple. Its meadows, manured with wood ashes, bear excellent grass. It is also exceedingly populous, abounding in towns and villages; but, owing to the embankments which enclose them, the only indications of their existence are the summits of spires, roofs, and tall chimneys, seen at intervals over these artificial mounds by those who ascend the Schelde. The industry of the Zealand peasant, and the economy with which he husbands his resources, are very remarkable, and might furnish a good example to the same class in our
As an instance of the mode in which he makes a little go a great way, it may be mentioned, that even from the rushes and reeds on the river banks, he gains a meal for his cattle. When boiled, mixed with a little hay, and sprinkled with a little salt, they are much relished by the cows, who thrive upon them, and yield abundance of milk.
The island (r.) opposite to Walcheren, is Cadsand, memorable in the English expedition of 1809. Cadsand had been, at an earlier period, the scene of a glorious victory gained by the valiant Sir Walter Manny and Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Derby, at the head of the chivalry of England, over a large body of Flemings, in the pay of Philip de Valois, King of France, in 1337. The English, effecting a landing in the face of the enemy, drove them from the sand-hills on which they were posted, and took, burned, and razed the town. The cloth-yard shafts of the English archers did great execution, and the personal prowess of the two leaders contributed not a little to the issue of the day. The first town which is perceived on the left of the spectator, and right bank of the river, is
(r.) FLUSHING (Dutch, Vlissingen). Inn, Heerenlogement, not very good.
A fortified town of 7000 inhabitants, with dock-yard and naval arsenal: 2 large and deep canals, communicating with the sea, enable the largest merchant vessels to penetrate into the town, and unload their cargoes on the quays, close to the warehouses.
It was bombarded and taken by the English, under Lord Chatham, in 1809, when a great part of the town was destroyed, and 300 of the inhabitants perished. This unprofitable and cruel exploit was the sole result of the Walcheren Expedition, and the only achievement of the largest and best equipped armament which ever left the shores of Britain, consisting of 37 ships of the line, 23 frigates, and 82 gun-boats, containing a force of 100,000 men, who might have carried Antwerp by a coupde-main. Since then, the works of Flushing have been greatly strength
ened, and in combination with the Fort of Rammekens, lying to the east, and those of Breskens, on the opposite side of the Schelde (here from 2 to 3 miles broad), completely command the entrance of the river.
Admiral de Ruiter was born here, the son of a rope-maker; a statue has been erected to him by his townsfolk. The fine Stadhuis (Town Hall), 2 churches, and more than 100 houses, were destroyed by the bombs and Congreve rockets of the English. Within the walls there is nothing but the usual singularities of a Dutch town (§ 10.) to excite the attention of a stranger, but at West Cappel the construction of the dykes is seen in the greatest perfection. At this point there is a gap in the Dunes, and the country behind would be at the mercy of the sea, were it not defended by a dyke of 4,700 yards long, and 30 feet high, upon the stability of which the safety of the whole island depends.
5 miles inland from Flushing is Middleburg, capital of Zealand. (Inn, Heerenlogement, not bad.) 14,000 inhabitants. A remarkably clean town; with a splendid Town Hall, built, 1468, by Charles the Bold, ornamented with 25 colossal statues of Counts and Countesses of Flanders.
The telescope was invented at Middleburg, in 1601, by one Hans Lippershey, a spectacle-maker.
The climate of Walcheren is most unhealthy in spring and autumn, when even the natives are liable to ague, or a species of marsh fever called the koorts. This disease is far more fatal to strangers, as was proved by the deaths of 7000 English soldiers, who perished here during the disastrous and ill-contrived expedition of 1809. The fever, however, is not contagious, and may be avoided by protecting the person with warm clothes against the sudden transitions of temperature, and by careful diet. Many of the inhabitants are very long-lived; and the mortality among the English became so great from the circumstance of their arriving during the most unhealthy season, from their being exposed in tents to the night-air,
and from their incautious consumption of green fruit.
The distance from Flushing to Antwerp up the river is reckoned to be about 62 miles. The island next to Walcheren, forming the right bank of the river, is Zuid Beveland.
On the left bank, but at some distance off, is Biervliet, a small town, only deserving of mention because a native of this place, named William Beukels, invented in 1386 the art of curing herrings. A monument was erected in the church to him as a benefactor to his country; and it is related that Charles V. and his sister, the Queen of Hungary, visited his tomb, out of respect to the memory of the fisherman to whom Holland owes a large part of her wealth.
Biervliet was detached from the continent by an inundation in 1377, which submerged 19 villages, and nearly all their inhabitants. Dutch industry and perseverance have long since recovered every acre.
(1.) Terneusen. - Near this are the sluice gates which close the entrance of the new canal extending to Ghent, which gives that city all the advantages of a sea port, as it is 16 ft. deep, and wide enough to admit vessels of very large burthen. It serves also as a drain to carry off the water from the district through which it passes. At Sas van Gend are sluices, by means of which the whole country can be laid under water.
The artificial embankments on each side of the Schelde are protected against the current, and masses of floating ice brought down in winter, by piers and breakwaters of piles driven into the river bed, or by masonry brought from a considerable distance in the interior, principally from Namur.
Hitherto both banks of the Schelde have belonged to Holland; but, after passing the termination of the island of Zuid Beveland, the river flows through Belgian territory.
The strait or passage called Kreek Bak, which separates Zuid Beveland from the main land, is commanded by
the very strong Fort Batz, which lies on the limits of the Dutch territory. Route 14.
On approaching Fort Lillo (r.) and Liefkenshoek (1.), the city of Antwerp with its tall spire appears in sight. These two strong works remained after the Belgic revolution in the hands of the Dutch down to 1839, when they were dismantled and given up to the Belgians in exchange for Venloo in Limburg, and abandoned in conformity with the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance. They completely commanded the passage up and down the Schelde, which here puts on the appearance of a river; lower down, it is more an arm of the sea, flowing between the islands of Zealand.
The polders (§ 11.) above Fort Liefkenshoek, on the left bank, were laid under water during the contest with the Dutch, by cutting the dykes, and down to 1838 an extensive tract of country remained in consequence desolate and useless. 5 or 6 other forts are passed on either side of the river previous to arriving at Antwerp. Between (1) Calloo and (r.) Oordam, in 1585, the Duke of Parma threw across the Schelde his celebrated bridge 2,400 ft. long, which, by closing the navigation of the river, and preventing the arrival of supplies of provisions to the besieged city of Antwerp, mainly contributed to its surrender. The bridge was so strongly built that it resisted the floods and ice of winter; 97 pieces of cannon were mounted on it, 2 forts guarded its extremities, and a protecting fleet was stationed beside it to assist in repelling any attack. The besieged, who, at first, laughed to scorn the notion of rendering such a structure permanent, when they found that all communication with their friends was cut off by it, began to tremble for the result, and every effort was made by them to effect its destruction. One night, the Spaniards were surprised by the appearance of 3 blazing fires floating down the stream, and bearing directly towards the bridge. These were fire-ships invented by a foreign engineer then within the walls of Ant
werp. The Prince of Parma rushed to the bridge to avert the threatening danger, and had he not been forcibly removed from it, would probably have lost his life; for one of the vessels reaching its destination with great precision, blew up with such tremendous force as to burst through the bridge in spite of its chains and cables, and demolished one of the stockades which connected it with the shore. 800 Spanish soldiers were destroyed by the explosion, and Parma himself was struck down senseless by a beam. Had the Zealand fleet been at hand, as proposed, the city might have been relieved; unfortunately some untoward mistake prevented its co-operation at the right moment, and allowed the Spanish general time to repair the damages, which, with his usual activity, he effected in an incredibly short space. Another attempt on the part of the besieged to destroy the bridge by means of an enormous floating machine called the "End of the War," an unprophetic name, was entirely frustrated by the vessel running aground,and Antwerp, reduced by famine, was compelled to surrender.
It was immediately in front of the fort of St. Laurent, below the town of Antwerp, that an instance of patriotic devotion was manifested on the part of a Dutch officer, which deserves to rank by the side of the heroic deeds of the Spartans and Romans. 1831, while hostilities were still in progress between Holland and Belgium, one of the Dutch gun-boats, in sailing up the Schelde from Fort Austruweel to the citadel during a heavy gale, twice missed stays. In spite of all the exertions of the crew, the vessel took the ground close under the guns of the fort, and within a few yards of the docks. The helpless situation of the gun-boat had been marked by crowds of Belgians from the shore; and the moment she was fast, a body of Belgian volunteers leaped on board, in haste to make a prize of the stranded vessel. The commander, young officer named Van Speyk, was called on, in a triumphant tone, to haul down his
colours and surrender. He saw that all chance of rescue, and of successful resistance against unequal numbers, were alike vain; but he had repeatedly before expressed his determination never to yield up his vessel, and he proved as good as his word. He rushed down to the powder magazine, laid a lighted cigar upon an open barrel of gunpowder, and then falling on his knees, to implore forgiveness of the Almighty for the crime of self-destruction, he calmly awaited the result. In a few moments the explosion took place; and, while the vibration shook the whole city, the dauntless Van Speyk, and all but 3 out of his crew of 31 men, were blown into the air. Van Speyk was an orphan; he had been educated at the public expense in an orphan house at Amsterdam: thus nobly did he repay his debt, and his country and king were not unmindful of him. A monument was set up to his memory by the side of that of De Ruiter, and it was decreed that henceforth a vessel in the Dutch navy should always bear the name of the Van Speyk.
ANTWERP. See Route 22.
61 posts The Railroad by Mechlin to Brussels, though longer, is a quicker way to Brussels than this high road, on which the diligences take 7 hours.
The gate by which we quit Ghent, called the Porte de Bruxelles, or de l'Empereur, dates from 1300. A stone bridge, built 1820, connects it with the fine suburb of La Pêcherie.
Quadrecht, on the Schelde. Near this the railway crosses the road.
Martin, is unfinished, or in part destroyed; what is left is very beautiful, and said to be by the architect of Amiens. In it is a celebrated picture, St. Roch interceding with our Saviour to appease the plague at Alost, by Rubens. It is one of his most sublime works, and was carried to Paris by the French. "The composition is upon the same plan as that of St. Bavon at Ghent. The picture is divided into two parts. The Saint and Christ are represented in the upper part, and the effects of the plague in the lower part of the picture. In this piece the grey is rather too predominant, and the figures have not that union with their ground, which is generally so admirable in the works of Rubens. has been in some picture-cleaner's hands, whom I have often known to darken every part of the ground about the figure, in order to make the flesh look brighter and clearer, by which the general effect is destroyed.”— Sir J. R. Near the H. de Ville, recently rebuilt by Roelandt, is the ancient Maison Commune, founded 1200; its tower and balcony in front date from
I suspect it
VOYAGE FROM LONDON OR DOVER TO OSTEND.
2 Alost (or Aalst). Inns: H. Pays-Bas; Trois Rois. A town of 14,800 inhab., on the Dender. The name signifies to "the east," i. e. of the Imperial province of Flanders, of which it was the frontier town in that Steamers to and from London, in direction. summer 4 times a-week, starting from The Cathedral, or Church of St. London Wed. and Sat. morning, and