A Wanderer in Holland

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

A Wanderer in Holland

By

E.V. Lucas

With Twenty Illustrations in Colour By

Herbert Marshall

And Thirty-Four Illustrations After Old Dutch Masters

Contents

Preface
I Rotterdam
II The Dutch in English Literature
III Dordrecht and Utrecht
IV Delft
V The Hague
VI Scheveningen and Katwyk
VII Leyden
VIII Leyden's Painters, a Fanatic and a Hero
IX Haarlem
X Amsterdam
XI Amsterdam's Pictures
XII Around Amsterdam; South and South-East
XIII Around Amsterdam: North
XIV Alkmaar and Hoorn, The Helder and Enkhuisen
XV Friesland: Stavoren to Leeuwarden
XVI Friesland (continued): Leeuwarden and Neighbourhood
XVII Groningen to Zutphen
XVIII Arnheim to Bergen-op-Zoom
XIX Middelburg
XX Flushing

List of Illustrations

In Colour

Sunrise on the Maas
Rotterdam
Gouda
The Great Church, Dort
Utrecht
On the Beach, Scheveningen
Leyden
The Turf Market, Haarlem
St. Nicolas Church, Amsterdam
Canal in the Jews' Quarter, Amsterdam
Volendam
Cheese Market, Alkmaar
The Harbour Tower, Hoorn
Market Place, Weigh-house, Hoorn
The Dromedaris Tower, Enkhuisen
Harlingen
Kampen
Arnheim
The Market Place, Nymwegen
Middelburg

In Monotone

Girl's Head. Jan Vermeer of Delft (Mauritshuis)
The Store Cupboard. Peter de Hooch (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
Portrait of a Youth. Jan van Scorel (Boymans Museum,
Rotterdam)
The Sick Woman. Jan Steen (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Anxious Family. Josef Israels
View of Dort. Albert Cuyp (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Never-Ending Prayer. Nicholas Maes (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
A Lady. Paulus Moreelse (Ryks)
Pilgrims to Jerusalem. Jan van Scorel
(Kunstliefde Museum, Utrecht)
View of Delft. Jan Vermeer (Mauritshuis)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The School of Anatomy. Rembrandt (Mauritshuis)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
A Young Woman. Rembrandt (Mauritshuis)
The Steen Family. Jan Steen (Mauritshuis)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Menagerie. Jan Steen (Mauritshuis)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
Portrait of G. Bicker, Landrichter of Muiden. Van der Heist
(Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Syndics. Rembrandt (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Oyster Feast. Jan Steen (Mauritshuis)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Young Housekeeper. Gerard Dou (Mauritshuis)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
Breakfast. Gabriel Metsu (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Groote Kerk. Johannes Bosboom (Boymans Museum, Rotterdam)
The Painter and His Wife (?). Frans Hals (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
Group of Arquebusiers. Frans Hals (Haarlem)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Cat's Dancing Lesson. Jan Steen (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The "Night Watch". Rembrandt (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Reader. Jan Vermeer (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
Milking Time. Anton Mauve
Paternal Advice. Gerard Terburg (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Spinner. Nicholas Maes (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
Clara Alewijn. Dirck Santvoort (Ryks)
Family Scene. Jan Steen (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Little Princess. Paulus Moreelse (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
The Shepherd and His Flock. Anton Mauve
Helene van der Schalke. Gerard Terburg (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl
Elizabeth Bas. Rembrandt (Ryks)
From a Photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl

Preface

It would be useless to pretend that this book is authoritatively informing. It is a series of personal impressions of the Dutch country and the Dutch people, gathered during three visits, together with an accretion of matter, more or less pertinent, drawn from many sources, old and new, to which I hope I have given unity. For trustworthy information upon the more serious side of Dutch life and character I would recommend Mr. Meldrum's _Holland and the Hollanders_. My thanks are due to my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Lüden, for saving me from many errors by reading this work in MS.

E.V.L.

A WANDERER IN HOLLAND

Chapter I

Rotterdam

To Rotterdam by water--To Rotterdam by rail--Holland's
monotony of scenery--Holland in England--Rotterdam's few
merits--The life of the river--The Rhine--Walt Whitman--Crowded
canals--Barge life--The Dutch high-ways--A perfect holiday--The
canal's influence on the national character--The florin
and the franc--Lady Mary Wortley Montagu--The old and the
poor--Holland's health--Funeral customs--The chemists'
shops--Erasmus of Rotterdam--Latinised names--Peter de
Hooch--True aristocracy--The Boymans treasures--Modern
Dutch art--Matthew Maris--The Rotterdam Zoo--The herons--The
stork's mission--The ourang-outang--An eighteenth-century
miser--A successful merchant--The Queen-Mother--Tom Hood
in Rotterdam--Gouda.

It was once possible to sail all the way to Rotterdam by either of the two lines of steamships from England--the Great Eastern, _viâ_ Harwich, and the Batavier, direct from London. But that is possible now only by the Batavier, passengers by the better-known Harwich route being landed now and henceforward at the Hook at five A.M. I am sorry for this, because after a rough passage it was very pleasant to glide in the early morning steadily up the Maas and gradually acquire a sense of Dutch quietude and greyness. No longer, however, can this be done, as the Batavier boats reach Rotterdam at night; and one therefore misses the river, with the little villages on its banks, each with a tiny canal-harbour of its own; the groups of trees in the early mist; the gulls and herons; and the increasing traffic as one drew nearer Schiedam and at last reached that forest of masts which is known as Rotterdam.

But now that the only road to Rotterdam by daylight is the road of iron all that is past, and yet there is some compensation, for short as the journey is one may in its progress ground oneself very thoroughly in the characteristic scenery of Holland. No one who looks steadily out of the windows between the Hook and Rotterdam has much to learn thereafter. Only changing skies and atmospheric effects can provide him with novelty, for most of Holland is like that. He has the formula. Nor is it necessarily new to him if he knows England well, North Holland being merely the Norfolk Broads, the Essex marshlands about Burnham-on-Crouch, extended. Only in its peculiarity of light and in its towns has Holland anything that we have not at home.

England has even its canal life too, if one cared to investigate it; the Broads are populous with wherries and barges; cheese is manufactured in England in a score of districts; cows range our meadows as they range the meadows of the Dutch. We go to Holland to see the towns, the pictures and the people. We go also because so many of us are so constituted that we never use our eyes until we are on foreign soil. It is as though a Cook's ticket performed an operation for cataract.

But because one can learn the character of Dutch scenery so quickly--on a single railway journey--I do not wish to suggest that henceforward it becomes monotonous and trite. One may learn the character of a friend very quickly, and yet wish to be in his company continually. Holland is one of the most delightful countries to move about in: everything that happens in it is of interest. I have never quite lost the sense of excitement in crossing a canal in the train and getting a momentary glimpse of its receding straightness, perhaps broken by a brown sail. In a country where, between the towns, so little happens, even the slightest things make a heightened appeal to the observer; while one's eyes are continually kept bright and one's mind stimulated by the ever-present freshness and clearness of the land and its air.

Rotterdam, it should be said at once, is not a pleasant city. It must be approached as a centre of commerce and maritime industry, or not at all; if you do not like sailor men and sailor ways, noisy streets and hurrying people, leave Rotterdam behind, and let the train carry you to The Hague. It is not even particularly Dutch: it is cosmopolitan. The Dutch are quieter than this, and cleaner. And yet Rotterdam is unique--its church of St. Lawrence has a grey and sombre tower which has no equal in the country; there is a windmill on the Cool Singel which is essentially Holland; the Boymans Museum has a few admirable pictures; there is a curiously fascinating stork in the Zoological Gardens; and the river is a scene of romantic energy by day and night. I think you must go to Rotterdam, though it be only for a few hours.

At Rotterdam we see what the Londoner misses by having a river that is navigable in the larger sense only below his city. To see shipping at home we must make our tortuous way to the Pool; Rotterdam has the Pool in her midst. Great ships pass up and down all day. The Thames, once its bustling mercantile life is cut short by London Bridge, dwindles to a stream of pleasure; the Maas becomes the Rhine.

Walt Whitman is the only writer who has done justice to a great harbour, and he only by that sheer force of enumeration which in this connection rather stands for than is poetry. As a matter of fact it is the reader of such an inventory as we find in "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" that is the poet: Whitman is only the machinery. Whitman gives the suggestion and the reader's own memory or imagination does the rest. Many of the lines might as easily have been written of Rotterdam as of Brooklyn:--

The sailors at work in the rigging or out astride the spars,
The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender
serpentine pennants,
The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their
pilot-houses,
The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of
the wheels,
The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sunset,
The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the
frolicsome crests and glistening,
The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the grey walls of
the granite storehouses by the docks,
On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank'd
on each side by the barges, the hay-boat, the belated lighter,
On the neighbouring shore the fires from the foundry chimneys
burning high and glaringly into the night,
Casting their flicker of black contrasted with wild red and
yellow light over the tops of the houses, and down into the clefts
of streets.

There is of course nothing odd in the description of one harbour fitting another, for harbours have no one nationality but all. Whitman was not otherwise very strong upon Holland. He writes in "Salut au Monde" of "the sail and steamships of the world" which in his mind's eye he beholds as they

Wait steam'd up ready to start in the ports of Australia,
Wait at Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin, Marseilles, Lisbon, Naples,
Hamburg, Bremen, Bordeaux, The Hague, Copenhagen.

It is not easy for one of the "sail or steamships of the world" to wait steamed up at The Hague; because The Hague has no harbour except for small craft and barges. Shall we assume, with great charity, that Walt feared that the word Rotterdam might impair his rhythm?

Not only big shipping: I think one may see barges and canal boats in greater variety at Rotterdam than anywhere else. One curious thing to be noticed as they lie at rest in the canals is the absence of men. A woman is always there; her husband only rarely. The only visible captain is the fussy, shrewish little dog which, suspicious of the whole world, patrols the boat from stem to stern, and warns you that it is against the law even to look at his property. I hope his bite is not equal to his bark.

Every barge has its name. What the popular style was seven years ago, when I was here last, I cannot remember; but to-day it is "Wilhelmina". English suburban villas have not a greater variety of fantastic names than the canal craft of Holland; nor, with all our monopoly of the word "home," does the English suburban villa suggest more compact cosiness than one catches gleams of through their cabin windows or down their companions.

Spring cleaning goes on here, as in the Dutch houses, all the year round, and the domiciliary part of the vessels is spotless. Every bulwark has a washing tray that can be fixed or detached in a moment. "It's a fine day, let us kill something," says the Englishman; "Here's an odd moment, let us wash something," says the Dutch vrouw.

In some of the Rotterdam canals the barges are so packed that they lie touching each other, with their burgees flying all in the same direction, as the vanes of St. Sepulchre's in Holborn cannot do. How they ever get disentangled again and proceed on their free way to their distant homes is a mystery. But in the shipping world incredible things can happen at night.

One does not, perhaps, in Rotterdam realise all at once that every drop of water in these city-bound canals is related to every other drop of water in the other canals of Holland, however distant. From any one canal you can reach in time every other. The canal is really much more the high road of the country than the road itself. The barge is the Pickford van of Holland. Here we see some of the secret of the Dutch deliberateness. A country which must wait for its goods until a barge brings them has every opportunity of acquiring philosophic phlegm.

After a while one gets accustomed to the ever-present canal and the odd spectacle (to us) of masts in the streets and sails in the fields. All the Dutch towns are amphibious, but some are more watery than others.

The Dutch do not use their wealth of water as we should. They do not swim in it, they do not race on it, they do not row for pleasure at all. Water is their servant, never a light-hearted companion.

I can think of no more reposeful holiday than to step on board one of these barges wedged together in a Rotterdam canal, and never lifting a finger to alter the natural course of events--to accelerate or divert--be earned by it to, say, Harlingen, in Friesland: between the meadows; under the noses of the great black and white cows; past herons fishing in the rushes; through little villages with dazzling milk-cans being scoured on the banks, and the good-wives washing, and saturnine smokers in black velvet slippers passing the time of day; through big towns, by rows of sombre houses seen through a delicate screen of leaves; under low bridges crowded with children; through narrow locks; ever moving, moving, slowly and surely, sometimes sailing, sometimes quanting, sometimes being towed, with the wide Dutch sky overhead, and the plovers crying in it, and the clean west wind driving the windmills, and everything just as it was in Rembrandt's day and just as it will be five hundred years hence.

Holland when all is said is a country of canals. It may have cities and pictures, windmills and cows, quaint buildings, and quainter costumes, but it is a country of canals before all. The canals set the tune. The canals keep it deliberate and wise.

One can be in Rotterdam, or in whatever town one's travels really begin, but a very short time without discovering that the Dutch unit--the florin--is a very unsatisfactory servant. The dearness of Holland strikes one continually, but it does so with peculiar force if one has crossed the frontier from Belgium, where the unit is a franc. It is too much to say that a sovereign in Holland is worth only twelve shillings: the case is not quite so extreme as that; but a sovereign in Belgium is, for all practical purposes, worth twenty-five shillings, and the contrast after reaching Dutch soil is very striking. One has to recollect that the spidery letter "f," which in those friendly little restaurants in the Rue Hareng at Brussels had stood for a franc, now symbolises that far more serious item the florin; and f. 1.50, which used to be a trifle of one and threepence, is now half a crown.

Even in our own country, where we know something about the cost of things, we are continually conscious of the fallacy embodied in the statement that a sovereign is equal to twenty shillings. We know that in theory that is so; but we know also that it is so only as long as the sovereign remains unchanged. Change it and it is worth next to nothing--half a sovereign and a little loose silver. But in Holland the disparity is even more pathetic. To change a sovereign there strikes one as the most ridiculous business transaction of one's life.

Certain things in Holland are dear beyond all understanding. At The Hague, for example, we drank Eau d'Evian, a very popular bottled water for which in any French restaurant one expects to pay a few pence; and when the bill arrived this simple fluid cut such a dashing figure in it that at first I could not recognise it at all. When I put the matter to the landlord, he explained that the duty made it impossible for him to charge less than f. 1.50 (or half a crown) a bottle; but I am told that his excuse was too fanciful. None the less, half a crown was the charge, and apparently no one objects to pay it. The Dutch, on pleasure or eating bent, are prepared to pay anything. One would expect to get a reasonable claret for such a figure; but not in Holland. Wine is good there, but it is not cheap. Only in one hotel--and that in the unspoiled north, at Groningen--did I see wine placed automatically upon the table, as in France.

Rotterdam must have changed for the worse under modern conditions; for it is no longer as it was in Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's day. From Rotterdam in 1716 she sent the Countess of Mar a pretty account of the city: "All the streets are paved with broad stones, and before the meanest artificers' doors seats of various coloured marbles, and so neatly kept that, I will assure you, I walked all over the town yesterday, _incognita_, in my slippers, without receiving one spot of dirt; and you may see the Dutch maids washing the pavement of the street with more application than ours do our bed-chambers. The town seems so full of people, with such busy faces, all in motion, that I can hardly fancy that it is not some celebrated fair; but I see it is every day the same.

"The shops and warehouses are of a surprising neatness and magnificence, filled with an incredible quantity of fine merchandise, and so much cheaper than what we see in England, I have much ado to persuade myself I am still so near it. Here is neither dirt nor beggary to be seen. One is not shocked with those loathsome cripples, so common in London, nor teased with the importunities of idle fellows and wenches, that choose to be nasty and lazy. The common servants and the little shopwomen here are more nicely clean than most of our ladies; and the great variety of neat dresses (every woman dressing her head after her own fashion) is an additional pleasure in seeing the town."

The claims of business have now thrust aside many of the little refinements described by Lady Mary, her description of which has but to be transferred to some of the smaller Dutch towns to be however in the main still accurate. But what she says of the Dutch servants is true everywhere to this minute. There are none more fresh and capable; none who carry their lot with more quiet dignity. Not the least part of the very warm hospitality which is offered in Dutch houses is played by the friendliness of the servants.

Every one in Holland seems to have enough; no one too much. Great wealth there may be among the merchants, but it is not ostentatious. Holland still seems to have no poor in the extreme sense of the word, no rags. Doubtless the labourers that one sees are working at a low rate, but they are probably living comfortably at a lower, and are not to be pitied except by those who still cherish the illusion that riches mean happiness. The dirt and poverty that exist in every English town and village are very uncommon. Nor does one see maimed, infirm or very old people, except now and then--so rarely as at once to be reminded of their rarity.

One is struck, even in Rotterdam, which is a peculiarly strenuous town, by the ruddy health of the people in the streets. In England, as one walks about, one sees too often the shadow of Death on this face and that; but in Holland it is difficult to believe in his power, the people have so prosperous, so permanent, an air.

That the Dutch die there is no doubt, for a funeral is an almost daily object, and the aanspreker is continually hurrying by; but where are the dead? The cemeteries are minute, and the churches have no churchyards. Of Death, however, when he comes the nation is very proud. The mourning customs are severe and enduring. No expense is spared in spreading the interesting tidings. It is for this purpose that the aanspreker flourishes in his importance and pomp. Draped heavily in black, from house to house he moves, wherever the slightest ties of personal or business acquaintanceship exist, and announces his news. A lady of Hilversum tells me that she was once formally the recipient of the message, "Please, ma'am, the baker's compliments, and he's dead," the time and place of the interment following. I said draped in black, but the aanspreker is not so monotonous an official as that. He has his subtleties, his nuances. If the deceased is a child, he adds a white rosette; if a bachelor or a maid, he intimates the fact by degrees of trimming.

The aanspreker was once occasionally assisted by the huilebalk, but I am afraid his day is over. The huilebalk accompanied the aansprekers from house to house and wept on the completion of their sad message. He wore a wide-awake hat with a very large brim and a long-tailed coat. If properly paid, says my informant, real tears coursed down his cheeks; in any case his presence was a luxury possible only to the rich.

The aanspreker is called in also at the other end of life. Assuming a more jocund air, he trips from house to house announcing little strangers.

That the Dutch are a healthy people one might gather also from the character of their druggists. In this country, even in very remote towns, one may reveal one's symptoms to a chemist or his assistant feeling certain that he will know more or less what to prescribe. But in Holland the chemists are often young women, who preside over shops in which one cannot repose any confidence. One likes a chemist's shop at least to look as if it contained reasonable remedies. These do not. Either our shops contain too many drugs or these too few. The chemist's sign, a large comic head with its mouth wide open (known as the gaper), is also subversive of confidence. A chemist's shop is no place for jokes. In Holland one must in short do as the Dutch do, and remain well.

Rotterdam's first claim to consideration, apart from its commercial importance, is that it gave birth to Erasmus, a bronze statue of whom stands in the Groote Market, looking down on the stalls of fruit. Erasmus of Rotterdam--it sounds like a contradiction in terms. Gherardt Gherardts of Rotterdam is a not dishonourable cacophany--and that was the reformer's true name; but the fashion of the time led scholars to adopt a Hellenised, or Latinised, style. Erasmus Desiderius, his new name, means Beloved and long desired. Grotius, Barlaeus, Vossius, Arminius, all sacrificed local colour to smooth syllables. We should be very grateful that the fashion did not spread also to the painters. What a loss it would be had the magnificent rugged name of Rembrandt van Rhyn been exchanged for a smooth emasculated Latinism.

Rotterdam had another illustrious son whose work as little suggests his birthplace--the exquisite painter Peter de Hooch. According to the authorities he modelled his style upon Rembrandt and Fabritius, but the influence of Rembrandt is concealed from the superficial observer. De Hooch, whose pictures are very scarce, worked chiefly at Delft and Haarlem, and it was at Haarlem that he died in 1681. If one were put to it to find a new standard of aristocracy superior to accidents of blood or rank one might do worse than demand as the ultimate test the possession of either a Vermeer of Delft or a Peter de Hooch.

One only of Peter de Hooch's pictures is reproduced in this book--"The Store Cupboard". This is partly because there are, I think, better paintings of his in London than at Amsterdam. At least it seems to me that his picture in our National Gallery of the waiting maid is finer than anything by De Hooch in Holland. But in no other work of his that I know is his simple charm so apparent as in "The Store Cupboard". This is surely the Christmas supplement carried out to its highest power--and by its inventor. The thousands of domestic scenes which have proceeded from this one canvas make the memory reel; and yet nothing has staled the prototype. It remains a sweet and genuine and radiant thing. De Hooch had two fetishes--a rich crimson dress or jacket and an open door. His compatriot Vermeer, whom he sometimes resembles, was similarly addicted to a note of blue.

No one has managed direct sunlight so well as De Hooch. The light in his rooms is the light of day. One can almost understand how Rembrandt and Gerard Dou got their concentrated effects of illumination; but how this omnipresent radiance streamed from De Hooch's palette is one of the mysteries. It is as though he did not paint light but found light on his canvas and painted everything else in its midst.

Rotterdam has some excellent pictures in its Boymans Museum; but they are, I fancy, overlooked by many visitors. It seems no city in which to see pictures. It is a city for anything rather than art--a mercantile centre, a hive of bees, a shipping port of intense activity. And yet perhaps the quietest little Albert Cuyp in Holland is here, "De Oude Oostpoort te Rotterdam," a small evening scene, without cattle, suffused in a golden glow. But all the Cuyps, and there are six, are good--all inhabited by their own light.

Among the other Boymans treasures which I find I have marked (not necessarily because they are good--for I am no judge--but because I liked them) are Ferdinand Bols fine free portrait of Dirck van der Waeijen, a boy in a yellow coat; Erckhart's "Boaz and Ruth," a small sombre canvas with a suggestion of Velasquez in it; Hobbema's "Boomrijk Landschap," one of the few paintings of this artist that Holland possesses. The English, I might remark, always appreciative judges of Dutch art, have been particularly assiduous in the pursuit of Hobbema, with the result that his best work is in our country. Holland has nothing of his to compare with the "Avenue at Middelharnis," one of the gems of our National Gallery. And his feathery trees may be studied at the Wallace Collection in great comfort.

Other fine landscapes in the Boymans Museum are three by Johan van Kessel, who was a pupil of Hobbema, one by Jan van der Meer, one by Koninck, and, by Jacob van Ruisdael, a corafield in the sun and an Amsterdam canal with white sails upon it. The most notable head is that by Karel Fabritius; Hendrick Pot's "Het Lokstertje" is interesting for its large free manner and signs of the influence of Hals; and Emmanuel de Witte's Amsterdam fishmarket is curiously modern. But the figure picture which most attracted me was "Portret van een jongeling," by Jan van Scorel, of whom we shall learn more at Utrecht. This little portrait, which I reproduce on the opposite page, is wholly charming and vivid.

The Boymans Museum contains also modern Dutch paintings. Wherever modern Dutch paintings are to be seen, I look first for the delicate art of Matthew Maris, and next for Anton Mauve. Here there is no Matthew Maris, and but one James Maris. There is one Mauve. The modern Dutch painter for the most part paints the same picture so often. But Matthew Maris is full of surprises. If a new picture by any of his contemporaries stood with its face to the wall one would know what to expect. From Israels, a fisherman's wife; from Mesdag, a grey stretch of sea; from Bosboom, a superb church interior; from Mauve, a peasant with sheep or a peasant with a cow; from Weissenbruch, a stream and a willow; from Breitner, an Amsterdam street; from James Maris a masterly scene of boats and wet sky. Usually one would have guessed aright. But with Matthew Maris is no certainty. It may be a little dainty girl lying on her side and watching butterflies; it may be a sombre hillside at Montmartre; it may be a girl cooking; it may be scaffolding in Amsterdam, or a mere at evening, or a baby's head, or a village street. He has many moods, and he is always distinguished and subtle.

Rotterdam has a zoological garden which, although inferior to ours, is far better than that at Amsterdam, while it converts The Hague's Zoo into a travesty. Last spring the lions were in splendid condition. They are well housed, but fewer distractions are provided for them than in Regent's Park. I found myself fascinated by the herons, who were continually soaring out over the neighbouring houses and returning like darkening clouds. In England, although the heron is a native, we rarely seem to see him; while to study him is extremely difficult. In Holland he is ubiquitous: both wild and tame.

More interesting still was the stork, whose nest is set high on a pinnacle of the buffalo house. He was building in the leisurely style of the British working man. He would negligently descend from the heavens with a stick. This he would lay on the fabric and then carefully perform his toilet, looking round and down all the time to see that every one else was busy. Whenever his eye lighted upon a toddling child or a perambulator it visibly brightened. "My true work!" he seemed to say; "this nest building is a mere by-path of industry." After prinking and overlooking, and congratulating himself thus, for a few minutes, he would stroll off, over the housetops, for another stick. He was the unquestionable King of the Garden.

Why are there no heronries in the English public parks? And why is there no stork? The Dutch have a proverb, "Where the stork abides no mother dies in childbed". Still more, why are there no storks in France? The author of _Fécondité_ should have imported them.

No Zoo, however well managed, can keep an ourang-outang long, and therefore one should always study that uncomfortably human creature whenever the opportunity occurs. I had great fortune at Rotterdam, for I chanced to be in the ourang-outang's house when his keeper came in. Entering the enclosure, he romped with him in a score of diverting ways. They embraced each other, fed each other, teased each other. The humanness of the creature was frightful. Perhaps our likeness to ourang-outangs (except for our ridiculously short arms, inadequate lower jaws and lack of hair) made him similarly uneasy.

Rotterdam, I have read somewhere, was famous at the end of the eighteenth century for a miser, the richest man in the city. He always did his own marketing, and once changed his butcher because he weighed the paper with the meat He bought his milk in farthingsworths, half of which had to be delivered at his front door and half at the back, "to gain the little advantage of extra measure". Different travellers note different things, and William Chambers, the publisher, in his _Tour in Holland_ in 1839, selected for special notice another type of Rotterdam resident: "One of the most remarkable men of this [the merchant] class is Mr. Van Hoboken of Rhoon and Pendrecht, who lives on one of the havens. This individual began life as a merchant's porter, and has in process of time attained the highest rank among the Dutch mercantile aristocracy. He is at present the principal owner of twenty large ships in the East India trade, each, I was informed, worth about fourteen thousand pounds, besides a large landed estate, and much floating wealth of different descriptions. His establishment is of vast extent, and contains departments for the building of ships and manufacture of all their necessary equipments. This gentleman, until lately, was in the habit of giving a splendid fête once a year to his family and friends, at which was exhibited with modest pride the porter's truck which he drew at the outset of his career. One seldom hears of British merchants thus keeping alive the remembrance of early meanness of circumstances."

At one of Rotterdam's stations I saw the Queen-Mother, a smiling, maternal lady in a lavender silk dress, carrying a large bouquet, and saying pretty things to a deputation drawn up on the platform. Rotterdam had put out its best bunting, and laid six inches of sand on its roads, to do honour to this kindly royalty. The band played the tender national anthem, which is always so unlike what one expects it to be, as her train steamed away, and then all the grave bearded gentlemen in uniforms and frock coats who had attended her drove in their open carriages back to the town. Not even the presence of the mounted guard made it more formal than a family party. Everybody seemed on the best of friendly terms of equality with everybody else.

Tom Hood, who had it in him to be so good a poet, but living in a country where art and literature do not count, was permitted to coarsen his delicate genius in the hunt for bread, wrote one of his comic poems on Rotterdam. In it are many happy touches of description:--

Before me lie dark waters
In broad canals and deep,
Whereon the silver moonbeams
Sleep, restless in their sleep;
A sort of vulgar Venice
Reminds me where I am;
Yes, yes, you are in England,
And I'm at Rotterdam.

Tall houses with quaint gables,
Where frequent windows shine,
And quays that lead to bridges,
And trees in formal line,
And masts of spicy vessels
From western Surinam,
All tell me you're in England,
But I'm in Rotterdam.

With headquarters at Rotterdam one may make certain small journeys into the neighbourhood--to Dordrecht by river, to Delft by canal, to Gouda by canal; or one may take longer voyages, even to Cologne if one wishes. But I do not recommend it as a city to linger in. Better than Rotterdam's large hotels are, I think, the smaller, humbler and more Dutch inns of the less commercial towns. This indeed is the case all over Holland: the plain Dutch inn of the neighbouring small town is pleasanter than the large hotels of the city; and, as I have remarked in the chapter on Amsterdam, the distances are so short, and the trains so numerous, that one suffers no inconvenience from staying in the smaller places.

Gouda (pronounced Howda) it is well to visit from Rotterdam, for it has not enough to repay a sojourn in its midst. It has a Groote Kerk and a pretty isolated white stadhuis. But Gouda's fame rests on its stained glass--gigantic representations of myth, history and scripture, chiefly by the brothers Crabeth. The windows are interesting rather than beautiful. They lack the richness and mystery which one likes to find in old stained glass, and the church itself is bare and cold and unfriendly. Hemmed in by all this coloured glass, so able and so direct, one sighs for a momentary glimpse of the rose window at Chartres, or even of the too heavily kaleidoscopic patterns of Brussels Cathedral. No matter, the Gouda windows in their way are very fine, and in the sixth, depicting the story of Judith and Holofernes, there is a very fascinating little Düreresque tower on a rock under siege.

If one is taking Gouda on the way from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, the surrounding country should not be neglected from the carriage windows. Holland is rarely so luxuriant as here, and so peacefully beautiful.

Chapter II

The Dutch in English Literature

Hard things against the Dutch--Andrew Marvell's satire--The
iniquity of living below sea-level--Historic sarcasms--"Invent
a shovel and be a magistrate"--Heterogeneity--Foot warmers--A
champion of the Hollow Land--_The Dutch Drawn to the
Life_--Dutch suspicion--Sir William Temple's opinion--and Sir
Thomas Overbury's--Dr. Johnson's project--Dutch courtesy--Dutch
discourtesy--National manners--A few phrases--The origin of
"Dutch News"--A vindication of Dutch courage.

To say hard things of the Dutch was once a recognised literary pastime. At the time of our war with Holland no poet of any pretensions refrained from writing at least one anti-Batavian satire, the classical example of which is Andrew Marvell's "Character of Holland" (following Samuel Butler's), a pasquinade that contains enough wit and fancy and contempt to stock a score of the nation's ordinary assailants. It begins perfectly:--

HOLLAND, that scarce deserves the name of land,
As but th' off-scouring of the British sand,
And so much earth as was contributed
By English pilots when they heav'd the lead,
Or what by the ocean's slow alluvion fell
Of shipwrackt cockle and the muscle-shell:
This indigested vomit of the sea
Fell to the Dutch by just propriety.
Glad then, as miners who have found the ore
They, with mad labour, fish'd the land to shoar
And div'd as desperately for each piece
Of earth, as if't had been of ambergreece;
Collecting anxiously small loads of clay,
Less than what building swallows bear away;
Or than those pills which sordid beetles roul,
Transfusing into them their dunghil soul.
How did they rivet, with gigantick piles,
Thorough the center their new-catchèd miles;
And to the stake a struggling country bound,
Where barking waves still bait the forcèd ground;
Building their wat'ry Babel far more high
To reach the sea, than those to scale the sky!
Yet still his claim the injur'd ocean laid,
And oft at leap-frog ore their steeples plaid:
As if on purpose it on land had come
To show them what's their _mare liberum_.
A daily deluge over them does boyl;
The earth and water play at level-coyl.
The fish oft times the burger dispossest,
And sat, not as a meat, but as a guest,
And oft the Tritons and the sea-nymphs saw
Whole sholes of Dutch serv'd up for Cabillau;
Or, as they over the new level rang'd
For pickled herring, pickled _heeren_ chang'd.
Nature, it seem'd, asham'd of her mistake,
Would throw their land away at duck and drake.

The poor Dutch were never forgiven for living below the sea-level and gaining their security by magnificent feats of engineering and persistence. Why the notion of a reclaimed land should have seemed so comic I cannot understand, but Marvell certainly justified the joke.

Later, Napoleon, who liked to sum up a nation in a phrase, accused Holland of being nothing but a deposit of German mud, thrown there by the Rhine: while the Duke of Alva remarked genially that the Dutch were of all peoples those that lived nighest to hell; but Marvell's sarcasms are the best. Indeed I doubt if the literature of droll exaggeration has anything to compare with "The Character of Holland".

The satirist, now thoroughly warmed to his congenial task, continues:--

Therefore Necessity, that first made kings,
Something like government among them brings;
For, as with pygmees, who best kills the crane,
Among the hungry, he that treasures grain,
Among the blind, the one-ey'd blinkard reigns,
So rules among the drowned he that draines:
Not who first sees the rising sun, commands,
But who could first discern the rising lands;
Who best could know to pump an earth so leak,
Him they their Lord, and Country's Father, speak;
To make a bank, was a great plot of State,
Invent a shov'l, and be a magistrate.

So much for the conquest of Neptune, which in another nation were a laudable enough enterprise. Marvell then passes on to the national religion and the heterogeneity of Amsterdam:--

'Tis probable Religion, after this,
Came next in order, which they could not miss,
How could the Dutch but be converted, when
Th' Apostles were so many fishermen?
Besides, the waters of themselves did rise,
And, as their land, so them did re-baptize.
Though Herring for their God few voices mist,
And Poor-John to have been th' Evangelist,
Faith, that could never twins conceive before,
Never so fertile, spawn'd upon this shore
More pregnant than their Marg'ret, that laid down
For Hans-in-Kelder of a whole Hans-Town.
Sure when Religion did itself imbark,
And from the East would Westward steer its ark,
It struck, and splitting on this unknown ground,
Each one thence pillag'd the first piece he found:
Hence Amsterdam, Turk-Christian-Pagan-Jew,
Staple of sects, and mint of schisme grew;
That bank of conscience, where not one so strange
Opinion but finds credit, and exchange.
In vain for Catholicks ourselves we bear;
The universal Church is only there.
Nor can civility there want for tillage,
Where wisely for their Court, they chose a village:
How fit a title clothes their governours,
Themselves the hogs, as all their subject bores!
Let it suffice to give their country fame,
That it had one Civilis call'd by name,
Some fifteen hundred and more years ago,
But surely never any that was so.

There is something rather splendid in the attitude of a man who can take a whole nation as his butt and bend every circumstance to his purpose of ridicule and attack. Our satirists to-day are contented to pillory individuals or possibly a sect or clique. Marvell's enjoyment in his own exuberance and ingenuity is so apparent and infectious that it matters nothing to us whether he was fair or unfair.

The end is inconclusive, being a happy recollection that he had omitted any reference to _stoofjes_, the footstools filled with burning peat which are used to keep the feet warm in church. Such a custom was of course not less reprehensible than the building of dykes to keep out the sea. Hence these eight lines, which, however, would have come better earlier in the poem:--

See but their mermaids, with their tails of fish,
Reeking at church over the chafing-dish!
A vestal turf, enshrin'd in earthen ware,
Fumes through the loopholes of a wooden square;
Each to the temple with these altars tend,
But still does place it at her western end;
While the fat steam of female sacrifice
Fills the priest's nostrils, and puts out his eyes.

Not all the poets, however, abused the Dutch. John Hagthorpe, in his _England's Exchequer_ in 1625 (written before the war: hence, perhaps, his kindness) thus addressed the "hollow land":--

Fair Holland, had'st thou England's chalky rocks,
To gird thy watery waist; her healthful mounts,
With tender grass to feed thy nibbling flocks:
Her pleasant groves, and crystalline clear founts,
Most happy should'st thou be by just accounts,
That in thine age so fresh a youth do'st feel
Though flesh of oak, and ribs of brass and steel.

But what hath prudent mother Nature held
From thee--that she might equal shares impart
Unto her other sons--that's not compell'd
To be the guèrdons of thy wit and art?
And industry, that brings from every part
Of every thing the fairest and the best,
Like the Arabian bird to build thy nest?

Like the Arabian bird thy nest to build,
With nimble wings thou flyest for Indian sweets,
And incense which the Sabáan forests yield,
And in thy nest the goods of each pole meets,--
Which thy foes hope, shall serve thy funeral rites--
But thou more wise, secur'd by thy deep skill,
Dost build on waves, from fires more safe than hill.

To return to the severer critics--in 1664 was published a little book called _The Dutch Drawn to the Life_, a hostile work not improbably written with the intention of exciting English animosity to the point of war. A great deal was made of the success of the Dutch fisheries and the mismanagement of our own. The nation was criticised in all its aspects--"well nigh three millions of men, well-proportioned, great lovers of our English beer". The following passage on the drinking capacity of the Dutch would have to be modified to-day:--

By their Excise, which riseth with their charge, the more money
they pay, the more they receive again, in that insensible but
profitable way: what is exhaled up in clouds, falls back again
in showers: what the souldier receives in pay, he payes in
Drink: their very enemies, though they hate the State, yet love
their liquor, and pay excise: the most idle, slothful, and most
improvident, that selleth his blood for drink, and his flesh for
bread, serves at his own charge, for every pay day he payeth his
sutler, and he the common purse.

Here are other strokes assisting to the protraiture "to the life" of this people: "Their habitations are kept handsomer than their bodies, and their bodies than their soules".--"The Dutch man's building is not large, but neat; handsome on the outside, on the inside hung with pictures and tapestry. He that hath not bread to eat hath a picture."--"They are seldom deceived, for they will trust nobody. They may always deceive, for you must trust them, as for instance, if you travel, to ask a bill of Particulars is to purre in a wasp's nest, you must pay what they ask as sure as if it were the assessment of a Subsidy."

But the wittiest and shrewdest of the prose critics of Holland was Owen Feltham, from whom I quote later. His little book on the Low Countries is as packed with pointed phrase as a satire by Pope: the first half of it whimsically destructive, the second half eulogistic. It is he who charges the Dutch convivial spirits with drinking down the Evening Starre and drinking up the Morning Starre.

The old literature tells us also that the Dutch were not always clean. Indeed, their own painters prove this: Ostade pre-eminently. There are many allusions in Elizabethan and early Stuart literature to their dirt and rags. In Earle's _Microcosmography_, for example, a younger brother's last refuge is said to be the Low Countries, "where rags and linen are no scandal". But better testimony comes perhaps from _The English Schole-Master_, a seventeenth-century Dutch-English manual, from which I quote at some length later in this book. Here is a specimen scrap of dialogue:--

S. May it please you to give me leave to go out?
M. Whither?
S. Home.
M. How is it that you goe so often home?
S. My mother commanded that I and my brother should come to her
this day.
M. For what cause?
S. That our mayd may beat out our clothes.
M. What is that to say? Are you louzie?
S. Yea, very louzie.

Sir William Temple, the patron of Swift, the husband of Dorothy Osborne, and our ambassador at The Hague--where he talked horticulture, cured his gout by the remedy known as Moxa, and collected materials for the leisurely essays and memoirs that were to be written at Moor Park--knew the Dutch well and wrote of them with much particularity. In his _Observations upon the United Provinces_ he says this: "Holland is a country, where the earth is better than the air, and profit more in request than honour; where there is more sense than wit; more good nature than good humour, and more wealth than pleasure: where a man would chuse rather to travel than to live; shall find more things to observe than desire; and more persons to esteem than to love. But the same qualities and dispositions do not value a private man and a state, nor make a conversation agreeable, and a government great: nor is it unlikely, that some very great King might make but a very ordinary private gentleman, and some very extraordinary gentleman might be capable of making but a very mean Prince."

Among other travellers who have summed up the Dutch in a few phrases is Sir Thomas Overbury, the author of some witty characters, including that very charming one of a Happy Milk Maid. In 1609 he thus generalised upon the Netherlander: "Concerning the people: they are neither much devout, nor much wicked; given all to drink, and eminently to no other vice; hard in bargaining, but just; surly and respectless, as in all democracies; thirsty, industrious, and cleanly; disheartened upon the least ill-success, and insolent upon good; inventive in manufactures, and cunning in traffick: and generally, for matter of action, that natural slowness of theirs, suits better (by reason of the advisedness and perseverance it brings with it) than the rashness and changeableness of the French and Florentine wits; and the equality of spirits, which is among them and Switzers, renders them so fit for a democracy: which kind of government, nations of more stable wits, being once come to a consistent greatness, have seldom long endured."

Many Englishmen have travelled in Holland and have set down the record of their experiences, from Thomas Coryate downwards. But the country has not been inspiring, and Dutch travels are poor reading. Had Dr. Johnson lived to accompany Boswell on a projected journey we should be the richer, but I doubt if any very interesting narrative would have resulted. One of Johnson's contemporaries, Samuel Ireland, the engraver, and the father of the fraudulent author of _Vortigern_, wrote _A Picturesque Tour through Holland, Brabant, and part of France_, in 1789, while a few years later one of Charles Lamb's early "drunken companions," Fell, wrote _A Tour through the Batavian Republic_, 1801; and both of these books yield a few experiences not without interest. Fell's is the duller. I quote from them now and again throughout this volume, but I might mention here a few of their more general observations.

Fell, for example, was embarrassed by the very formal politeness of the nation. "The custom of bowing in Holland," he writes, "is extremely troublesome. It is not sufficient, as in England, that a person slightly moves his hat, but he must take it off his head, and continue uncovered till the man is past him to whom he pays the compliment. The ceremony of bowing is more strictly observed at Leyden and Haarlem, than at Rotterdam or The Hague. In either of the former cities, a stranger of decent appearance can scarcely walk in the streets without being obliged every minute to pull off his hat, to answer some civility of the same kind which he receives; and these compliments are paid him not only by opulent people, but by mechanics and labourers, who bow with all the gravity and politeness of their superiors."

Such civilities to strangers have become obsolete. So far from courtesy being the rule of the street, it is now, as I have hinted in the next chapter, impossible for an English-woman whose clothes chance to differ in any particular from those of the Dutch to escape embarrassing notice. Staring is carried to a point where it becomes almost a blow, and laughter and humorous sallies resound. I am told that the Boer war to a large extent broke down old habits of politeness to the English stranger.

When one thinks of it, the Dutch habit of staring at the visitor until he almost wishes the sea would roll in and submerge him, argues a want of confidence in their country, tantamount to a confession of failure. Had they a little more trust in the attractive qualities of their land, a little more imagination to realise that in other eyes its flatness and quaintness might be even alluring, they would accept and acknowledge the compliment by doing as little as possible to make their country's admirers uncomfortable.

"Dutch courage," to which I refer below, is not our only use of Dutch as a contemptuous adjective. We say "Dutch Gold" for pinchbeck, "Dutch Myrtle" for a weed. "I shall talk to you like a Dutch uncle" is another saying, not in this case contemptuous but rather complimentary--signifying "I'll dress you down to some purpose". One piece of slang we share with Holland: the reference to the pawnbroker as an uncle. In Holland the kindly friend at the three brass balls (which it may not be generally known are the ancient arms of Lombardy, the Lombards being the first money lenders,) is called Oom Jan or Uncle John.

There is still another phrase, "Dutch news," which might be explained. The term is given by printers to very difficult copy--Dean Stanley's manuscript, for example, was probably known as Dutch news, so terrible was his hand,--and also to "pie". The origin is to be found in the following paragraph from _Notes and Queries_. (The Sir Richard Phillips concerned was the vegetarian publisher so finely touched off by Borrow in _Lavengro_.)

In his youth Sir Richard Phillips edited and published a paper at Leicester, called the _Herald_. One day an article appeared in it headed 'Dutch Mail,' and added to it was an announcement that it had arrived too late for translation, and so had been cut up and printed in the original. This wondrous article drove half of England crazy, and for years the best Dutch scholars squabbled and pored over it without being able to arrive at any idea of what it meant. This famous 'Dutch Mail' was, in reality, merely a column of pie. The story Sir Richard tells of this particular pie he had a whole hand in is this:--

"One evening, before one of our publications, my men and a boy overturned two or three columns of the paper in type. We had to get ready in some way for the coaches, which, at four o'clock in the morning, required four or five hundred papers. After every exertion we were short nearly a column; but there stood on the galleys a tempting column of pie. It suddenly struck me that this might be thought Dutch. I made up the column, overcame the scruples of the foreman, and so away the country edition went with its philological puzzle, to worry the honest agricultural reader's head. There was plenty of time to set up a column of plain English for the local edition." Sir Richard tells of one man whom he met in Nottingham who for thirty-four years preserved a copy of the Leicester _Herald_, hoping that some day the matter would be explained.

I doubt if any one nation is braver than any other; and the fact that from Holland we get the contemptuous term "Dutch courage," meaning the courage which is dependent upon spirits (originally as supplied to malefactors about to mount the scaffold), is no indication that the Dutch lack bravery. To one who inquired as to the derivation of the phrase a poet unknown to me thus replied, somewhen in the reign of William IV. The retort, I think, was sound:--

Do _you_ ask what is Dutch courage?
Ask the Thames, and ask the fleet,
That, in London's fire and plague years,
With De Ruyter yards could mete:
Ask Prince Robert and d'Estrées,
Ask your Solebay and the Boyne,
Ask the Duke, whose iron valour
With our chivalry did join,
Ask your Wellington, oh ask him,
Of our Prince of Orange bold,
And a tale of nobler spirit
Will to wond'ring ears be told;
And if ever foul invaders
Threaten your King William's throne,
If dark Papacy be running,
Or if Chartists want your own,
Or whatever may betide you,
That needs rid of foreign will,
Only ask of your Dutch neighbours,
And you'll _see_ Dutch courage still.

Chapter III

Dordrecht and Utrecht

By water to Dordrecht--Her four rivers--The milkmaid
and the coat of arms--The Staple of Dort--Overhanging
houses--Albert Cuyp--Nicolas Maes--Ferdinand Bol--Ary
Scheffer--G.H. Breitner--A Dort carver--The Synod of
Dort--"The exquisite rancour of theologians"--_La Tulipe
Noire_--Bernard Mandeville--The exclusive Englishman--The
Castle of Loevenstein--The escape of Grotius--Gorcum's taste
outraged--By rail to Utrecht--A free church--The great storm
of 1674--Utrecht Cathedral--Jan van Scorel--Paul Moreelse--A
too hospitable museum.

Dordrecht must be approached by water, because then one sees her as she was seen so often, and painted so often, by her great son Albert Cuyp, and by countless artists since.

I steamed from Rotterdam to Dordrecht on a grey windy morning, on a passenger boat bound ultimately for Nymwegen. We carried a very mixed cargo. In a cage at the bows was a Friesland mare, while the whole of the deck at the stern was piled high with motor spirit. Between came myriad barrels of beer and other merchandise.

The course to Dordrecht (which it is simpler to call Dort) is up the Maas for some miles; past shipbuilding yards, at Sylverdyk (where is a great heronry) and Kinderdyk; past fishermen dropping their nets for salmon, which they may take only on certain days, to give their German brethren, higher up the river, a chance; past meadows golden with marsh marigolds; past every kind of craft, most attractive of all being the tjalcks with their brown or black sails and green-lined hulls, not unlike those from Rochester which swim so steadily in the reaches of the Thames about Greenwich. The journey takes an hour and a half, the last half-hour being spent in a canal leading south from the Maas and ultimately joining Dort's confluence of waters.

It is these rivers that give Dort her peculiar charm. There is a little café on the quay facing the sunset where one may sit and lose oneself in the eternally interesting movement of the shipping. I found the town distracting under the incessant clanging of the tram bell (yet grass grows among the paving-stones between the rails); but there is no distraction opposite the sunset. On the evening that I am remembering the sun left a sky of fiery orange barred by clouds of essential blackness.

Dort's rivers are the Maas and the Waal, the Linge and the Merwede; and when in 1549 Philip of Spain visited the city, she flourished this motto before him:--

Me Mosa, me Vahalis, me Linga Morvaque cingunt
Biternam Batavæ virginis ecce fidens.

The fidelity, at least to Philip and Spain, disappeared; but the four rivers still as of old surround Dort with a cincture.

I must give, in the words of the old writer who tells it, the pretty legend which explains the origin of the Dort coat of arms: "There is an admirable history concerning that beautiful and maiden city of Holland called Dort. The Spaniards had intended an onslaught against it, and so they had laid thousands of old soldiers in ambush. Not far from it there did live a rich farmer who did keep many cows in his ground, to furnish Dort with butter and milk. The milkmaid coming to milk saw all under the hedges soldiers lying; seemed to take no notice, but went singing to her cows; and having milked, went as merrily away. Coming to her master's house, she told what she had seen. The master wondering at it, took the maid with him and presently came to Dort, told it to the Burgomaster, who sent a spy immediately, found it true, and prepared for their safety; sent to the States, who presently sent soldiers into the city, and gave order that the river should be let in at such a sluice, to lay the country under water. It was done, and many Spaniards were drowned and utterly disappointed of their design, and the town saved. The States, in the memory of the merry milkmaid's good service to the country, ordered the farmer a large revenue for ever, to recompense his loss of house, land, and cattle; caused the coin of the city to have the milkmaid under her cow to be engraven, which is to be seen upon the Dort dollar, stivers, and doights to this day; and so she is set upon the water gate of Dort; and she had, during her life, and her's for ever, an allowance of fifty pounds per annum. A noble requital for a virtuous action."

Dort's great day of prosperity is over; but once she was the richest town in Holland--a result due to the privilege of the Staple. In other words, she obtained the right to act as intermediary between the rest of Holland and the outer world in connection with all the wine, corn, timber and whatever else might be imported by way of the Rhine. At Dort the cargoes were unloaded. For some centuries she enjoyed this privilege, and then in 1618 Rotterdam began to resent it so acutely as to take to arms, and the financial prosperity of the town, which would be tenable only by the maintenance of a fleet, steadily crumbled. To-day she is contented enough, but the cellars of Wyn Straat, once stored with the juices of Rhenish vineyards, are empty. The Staple is no more.

Dort is perhaps the most painted of all Dutch towns, and with reason; for certainly no other town sits with more calm dignity among the waters, nor has any other town so quaintly medieval a canal as that which extends from end to end, far below the level of the streets, crossed by a series of little bridges. Seen from these bridges it is the nearest thing to Venice in all Holland--nearer than anything in Amsterdam. One may see it not only from the bridges, but also from little flights of steps off the main street, and everywhere it is beautiful: the walls rising from its surface reflected in its depths, green paint splashed about with perfect effect, bright window boxes, here and there a woman washing clothes, odd gables above and bridges in the distance.

Dordrecht's converging facades, which incline towards each other like deaf people, are, I am told, the result not of age and sinking foundations, but of design. When they were built, very many years ago, the city had a law directing that its roofs should so far project beyond the perpendicular as to shed their water into the gutter, thus enabling the passers-by on the pavement to walk unharmed. I cannot give chapter or verse for this comfortable theory; which of course preceded the ingenious Jonas Hanway's invention of the umbrella. In a small and very imperfect degree the enactment anticipates the covered city of Mr. H.G. Wells's vision. A Dutch friend to whom I put the point tells me that more probably the preservation of bricks and mural carvings was intended, the dryness of the wayfarer being quite secondary or unforeseen.

Dort's greatest artist was Albert Cuyp, born in 1605. His body lies in the church of the Augustines in the same city, where he died in 1691--true to the Dutch painters' quiet gift of living and dying in their birthplaces. Cuyp has been called the Dutch Claude, but it is not a good description. He was more human, more simple, than Claude. The symbol for him is a scene of cows; but he had great versatility, and painted horses to perfection. I have also seen good portraits from his busy brush. Faithful to his native town, he painted many pictures of Dort. We have two in the National Gallery. I have reproduced opposite page 30 his beautiful quiet view of the town in the Ryks Museum. Dort has changed but little since then; the schooner would now be a steamer--that is almost all. The reproduction can give no adequate suggestion of Cuyp's gift of diffusing golden light, his most precious possession.

Another Dort painter, below Albert Cuyp in fame, but often above him, I think, in interest and power, is Nicolas Maes, born in 1632--a great year in Dutch art, for it saw the birth also of Vermeer of Delft and Peter de Hooch. Maes, who studied in Rembrandt's studio, was perhaps the greatest of all that master's pupils. England, as has been so often the case, appreciated Maes more wisely than Holland, with the result that some of his best pictures are here.

But one must go to the Ryks Museum in Amsterdam to see his finest work of all--"The Endless Prayer," No. 1501, reproduced on the opposite page. We have at the National Gallery or the Wallace Collection no Maes equal to this. His "Card players," however, at the National Gallery, a free bold canvas, more in the manner of Velasquez than of his immediate master, is in its way almost as interesting.

To "The Endless Prayer" one feels that Maes's master, Rembrandt, could have added nothing. It is even conceivable that he might have injured it by some touch of asperity. From this picture all Newlyn seems to have sprung.

According to Pilkington, Maes gave up his better and more Rembrandtesque manner on account of the objection of his sitters to be thus painted. Such are sitters!

Dordrecht claims also Ferdinand Bol, the pupil and friend of Rembrandt, and the painter of the Four Regents of the Leprosy Hospital in the Amsterdam stadhuis. He was born in 1611. For a while his pictures were considered by connoisseurs to be finer than those of his master. We are wiser to-day; yet Bol had a fine free way that is occasionally superb, often united, as in the portrait of Dirck van der Waeijen at Rotterdam, to a delicate charm for which Rembrandt cared little. His portrait of an astronomer in our National Gallery is a great work, and at the Ryks Museum at Amsterdam his "Roelof Meulenaer," No. 543, should not be missed. Bol's favourite sitter seems to have been Admiral de Ruyter--if one may judge by the number of his portraits of that sea ravener which Holland possesses.

By a perversity of judgment Dort seems to be more proud of Ary Scheffer than of any of her really great sons. It is Ary Scheffer's statue--not Albert Cuyp's or Nicolas Maes's--which rises in the centre of the town; and Ary Scheffer's sentimental and saccharine inventions fill three rooms in the museum. It is amusing in the midst of this riot of meek romanticism to remember that Scheffer painted Carlyle. Dort has no right to be so intoxicated with the excitement of having given birth to Scheffer, for his father was a German, a mere sojourner in the Dutch town.

The old museum of Dort has just been moved to a new building in the Lindengracht, and in honour of the event a loan exhibition of modern paintings and drawings was opened last summer. The exhibition gave peculiar opportunity for studying the work of G. H. Breitner, the painter of Amsterdam canals. The master of a fine sombre impressionism, Breitner has made such scenes his own. But he can do also more tender and subtle things. In this collection was a little oil sketch of a mere which would not have suffered had it been hung between a Corot and a Daubigny; and a water-colour drawing of a few cottages and a river that could not have been strengthened by any hand.

Another artist of Dort was Jan Terween Aertz, born in 1511, whose carvings in the choir of the Groote Kerk are among its chief glories. It is amazing that such spirit and movement can be suggested in wood. That the very semblance of life can be captured by a painter is wonderful enough; but there seems to me something more extraordinary in the successful conquest of the difficulties which confront an artist of such ambition as this Dort carver. His triumph is even more striking than that of the sculptor in marble. The sacristan of Dort's Groote Kerk seems more eager to show a brass screen and a gold christening bowl than these astounding choir stalls; but tastes always differ.

By the irony of fate it was Dort--the possessor of Terween's carving of the Triumph of Charles V. (a pendant to the Triumph of the Church and the Eucharist)--that, in 1572, only a few years after the carving was made, held the Congress which virtually decided the fate of Spain in the Netherlands. Brill had begun the revolution (as we shall see in our last chapter), Flushing was the first to follow suit, Enkhuisen then caught the fever; but these were individual efforts: it was the Congress of Dort that authorised and systematised the revolt.

The scheme of this book precludes a consecutive account of the great struggle between Holland and Spain--a struggle equal almost to that between Holland and her other implacable foe, the sea. I assume in the reader a sufficient knowledge of history to be able to follow the course of the contest as it moves backwards and forwards in these pages--the progress of the narrative being dictated by the sequence of towns in the itinerary rather than by the sequence of events in time. The death of William the Silent, for example, has to be set forth in the chapter on Delft, where the tragedy occurred, and where he lies buried, long before we reach the description of the siege of Haarlem and the capture of De Bossu off Hoorn, while for the insurrection of Brill, which was the first tangible token of Dutch independence, we have to wait until the last chapter of all. The reader who is endowed with sufficient history to reconcile these divagations should, I think, by the time the book is finished, have (with Motley's assistance) a vivid idea of this great war, so magnificently waged by Holland, which lowers in the background of almost every Dutch town.

A later congress at Dort was the famous Synod in 1618-19, in which a packed house of Gomarians or Contra-Remonstrants, pledged to carry out the wishes of Maurice, Prince of Orange, the Stadtholder, affected to subject the doctrines of the Arminians or Remonstrants to conscientious examination. These doctrines as contained in the five articles of the Arminians were as follows, in the words of Davies, the historian of Holland: "First, that God had resolved from the beginning to elect into eternal life those who through his grace believed in Jesus Christ, and continued stedfast in the faith; and, on the contrary, had resolved to leave the obstinate and unbelieving to eternal damnation; secondly, that Christ had died for the whole world, and obtained for all remission of sins and reconciliation with God, of which, nevertheless, the faithful only are made partakers; thirdly, that man cannot have a saving faith by his own free will, since while in a state of sin he cannot think or do good, but it is necessary that the grace of God, through Christ, should regenerate and renew the understanding and affections; fourthly, that this grace is the beginning, continuance, and end of salvation, and that all good works proceed from it, but that it is not irresistible; fifthly, that although the faithful receive by grace sufficient strength to resist Satan, sin, the world, and the flesh, yet man can by his own act fall away from this state of grace."

After seven months wrangling and bitterness, at a cost of a million guelders, the Synod came to no conclusion more Christian than that no punishment was too bad for the holder of such opinions, which were dangerous to the State and subversive of true religion. The result was that Holland's Calvinism was intensified; Barneveldt (who had been in prison all the time) was, as we shall see, beheaded; Grotius and Hoogenbeets were sentenced to imprisonment for life; and Episcopius, the Remonstrant leader at the Synod, was, together with many others, banished. Episcopius heard his sentence with composure, merely remarking, "God will require of you an account of your conduct at the great day of His judgment. There you and the whole Synod will appear. May you never meet with a judge such as the Synod has been to us."

Davies has a story of Episcopius which is too good to be omitted. On banishment he was given his expenses by the States. Among the dollars given to Episcopius was one, coined apparently in the Duchy of Brunswick, bearing on the one side the figure of Truth, with the motto, "Truth overcomes all things"; and on the reverse, "In well-doing fear no one". Episcopius was so struck with the coincidence that he had the coin set in gold and carefully preserved.

It is impossible for any one who has read _La Tulipe Noire_ not to think of that story when wandering about Dort; but it is a mistake to read it in the town itself, for the Great Alexandre's fidelity to fact will not bear the strain. Dumas never wore his historical, botanical, geographical and ethnographical knowledge more like a flower than in this brave but breathless story. In Boxtel's envy we may perhaps believe; in Gryphon's savagery; and in the craft and duplicity of the Stadtholder; but if ever a French philosopher and a French grisette masqueraded as a Dutch horticulturist and a Frisian waiting-maid they are Cornelius van Baerle and his Rosa; and if ever a tulip grew by magic rather than by the laws of nature it was the tulipe noire. No matter; there is but one Dumas. According to Flotow the composer, William III. of Holland told Dumas the story of the black tulip at his coronation in 1849, remarking that it was time that the novelist turned his attention to Holland; but two arguments are urged against this origin, one being that Paul Lacroix--the "Bibliophile Jacob"--is said, on better authority, to have supplied the germ of the romance, and the other (which is even better evidence), that had the stimulus come from a monarch Dumas would hardly have refrained from saying so (and more) in the preface of the book.

Cornelius de Witt, whose tragedy is at the threshold of the romance, was apprehended at Dort, on his bed of sickness, and carried thence to the Hague, to be imprisoned in the Gevangenpoort, which we shall visit, and torn to pieces by the populace close by.

Another literary association. From Dort came the English cynical writer Bernard Mandeville, born in 1670, author of _The Fable of the Bees_, that very shrewd and advanced commentary upon national hypocrisies--so advanced, indeed, that several of the more revolutionary of the thinkers of the present day, whose ideas are thought peculiarly modern, have not really got beyond it. After leaving Leyden as a doctor of medicine, Mandeville settled in England, somewhen at the end of the seventeenth century, and became well known in the Coffee Houses as a wit and good fellow.

We are a curious people when we travel. At Dort I heard a young Englishman inquiring of the landlord how best to spend his Sunday. "One can hardly go on one of the river excursions," he remarked; "they are so mixed." And the landlord, with a lunch at two florins, fifty, in his mind, which it was desirable that as many persons as possible should eat and pay for, heartily agreed with him. None the less it seemed well to join the excursion to Gorinchem; and thence we steamed on a fine cloudy Sunday, the river whipped grey by a strong cross wind, and the little ships that beat up and passed us, all aslant. At Gorinchem (pronounced Gorcum) we changed at once into another steamer, a sorry tub, as wide as it was short, and steamed to Woudrichem (called Worcum) hoping to explore the fortress of Loevenstein. But Loevenstein is enisled and beyond the reach of the casual visitor, and we had therefore to sit in the upper room of the Bellevue inn, overlooking the river, and await the tub's deliberate return, while the tugs and the barges trailed past. Save for modifications brought about by steam, the scene can be now little different from that in the days when Hugo Grotius was imprisoned in the castle.

The philosopher's escape is one of the best things in the history of wives. Two ameliorations were permitted him by Maurice--the presence of the Vrouw Grotius and the solace of books. As it happened, this lenience could not have been less fortunately (or, for Grotius, more fortunately) framed. Books came continually to the prisoner, which, when read, were returned in the same chest that conveyed his linen to the Gorcum wash. At first the guard carefully examined each departing load; but after a while the form was omitted. Grotius's wife, a woman of no common order (when asked why she did not sue for her husband's pardon, she had replied, "I will not do it: if he have deserved it let them strike off his head"), was quick to notice the negligence of the guard, and giving out that her husband was bedridden, she concealed him in the chest, and he was dumped on a tjalck and earned over to Gorcum. While on his journey he had the shuddering experience of hearing some one remark that the box was heavy enough to have a man in it; but it was his only danger. A Gorcum friend extricated him; and, disguised as a carpenter armed with a footrule, he set forth on his travels to Antwerp. Once certain that Grotius was safe, his wife informed the guard, and the hue and cry was raised. But it was raised in vain. At first there was a suggestion that the lady should be retained in his stead, but all Holland applauded her deed and she was permitted to go free.

The river, as I have said, must be still much the same as in Grotius's day; while the two towns Gorcum and Worcum cluster about their noble church towers as of old. Worcum is hardly altered; but Gorcum's railway and factories have enlarged her borders. She has now twelve thousand inhabitants, some eleven thousand of whom were in the streets when, the tub having at length crawled back with us, we walked through them to the station.

Odd how one nation's prettiness is another's grotesque. My companion was wearing one of those comely straw hats trimmed with roses which we call Early Victorian, and which the hot summer of 1904 brought into fashion again on account of their peculiar suitability to keep off the sun. In England we think them becoming; upon certain heads they are charming. But no head must wear such a hat at Gorcum unless it would court disaster. The town is gay and spruce, bright as a new pin; the people are outrageous. I suppose that the hat turned down at the precise point at which, according to Gorcum's canons of taste, it should have turned up. Whatever it did was unpardonable, and we had to be informed of the solecism. We were informed in various ways; the men whistled, the women sniggered, the girls laughed, the children shouted and ran beside us. The same hat had been disregarded by the sweet-mannered friendly Middelburgians; it had raised no smile at Breda. At Dordrecht, it is true, eyes had been opened wide; at Bergen-op-Zoom mouths had opened too; but such attention was nothing compared with Gorcum's pains to make two strangers uncomfortable.

As it happened, we had philosophy, and the discomfort was very slight. Indeed, after a while, as we ran the gauntlet to the station, annoyance gave way to interest. We found ourselves looking ahead for distant wayfarers who had not yet tasted the rare joy which rippled like a ship's wake behind us. We waited for the ecstatic moment when their faces should light with the joke. Sometimes a mother standing at the door would see us and call to her family to come--and come quickly, if they would not be disappointed! Women, lurking behind Holland's blue gauze blinds, would be seen to break away with a hasty summoning movement. Children down side streets who had just realised their exceptional fortune would be heard shouting the glad tidings to their friends. The porter who wheeled our luggage was stopped again and again to answer questions concerning his fantastic employers.

In course of time--it is a long way to the station--we grew to feel a shade of pique if any one passed us and took no notice. To bulk so hugely in the public eye became a new pleasure. I had not known before what Britannia must feel like on the summit of the largest of the cars in a circus procession.

I am convinced that such costly and equivocal success as the British arms achieved over the Boers had nothing to do with Gorcum's feelings. The town's æsthetic ideals were honestly outraged, and it took the simplest means of making its protest.

We did not mean to wait at the station; having left our luggage there, we had intended to explore the town. But there is a limit even to the passion for notoriety, and we had reached it, passed it. We read and wrote letters in that waiting-room for nearly three hours.

At Gorcum was born, in 1637, Jan van der Heyden, a very attractive painter of street scenes, combining exactitude of detail with rich colour, who used to get Andreas van der Velde to put in the figures. He has a view of Cologne in the National Gallery which is exceedingly pleasing, and a second version in the Wallace Collection. I shall never forget his birthplace.

We came into Utrecht in the evening. At Culemberg the country begins to grow very green and rich: smooth meadows and vast woods as far as one can see: plovers all the way. The light transfiguring this scene was exactly the golden light which one sees in Albert Cuyp's most peaceful landscapes.

When I was last on this journey the time was spring, and the sliding, pointed roofs of the ricks were at their lowest, with their four poles high and naked above them, like scaffolding. But now, in August, they were all resting on the top pegs, a solid square tower of hay beneath each; looking in the evening light for all the world as if every farmer had his private Norman church.

The note of Utrecht is superior satisfaction. It has discreet verdant parks, a wonderful campanile, a University, large comfortable houses, carriages and pairs. Its cathedral is the only church in Holland (with the exception of the desecrated fane at Veere) for the privilege of entering which I was not asked to pay. I have an uneasy feeling that it was an oversight, and that if by any chance this statement meets an authoritative eye some one may be removed to one of the penal establishments and steps be taken to collect my debt. But so it was. And yet it is possible that the free right of entrance is intentional; since to charge for a building so unpardonably disfigured would be a hardy action. The Gothic arches have great beauty, but it is impossible from any point to get more than a broken view on account of the high painted wooden walls with which the pews have been enclosed.

The cathedral is only a fragment; the nave fell in, isolating the bell tower, during a tempest in 1674, and by that time all interest in churches as beautiful and sacred buildings having died out of Holland, never to return, no effort was made to restore it. But it must, before the storm, have been superb, and of a vastness superior to any in the country.

I find a very pleasant passage upon Holland's great churches, and indeed upon its best architecture in general, in an essay on Utrecht Cathedral by Mr. L.A. Corbeille. "Gothic churches on a grand scale are as abundant in the Netherlands as they are at home, but to find one of them drawn or described in any of the otherwise comprehensive architectural works, which appear from time to time, is the rarest of experiences. The Hollanders are accused of mere apishness in employing the Gothic style, and of downright dulness in apprehending its import and beauty. Yet a man who has found that bit of Rotterdam which beats Venice; who has seen, from under Delft's lindens on a summer evening, the image of the Oude Kerk's leaning tower in the still canal, and has gone to bed, perchance to awake in the moonlight while the Nieuwe Kerk's many bells are rippling a silver tune over the old roofs and gables; who has drunk his beer full opposite the stadhuis at Leyden, and seen Haarlem's huge church across magnificent miles of gaudy tulips, and watched from a brown-sailed boat on the Zuider Zee a buoy on the horizon grow into the water-gate of Hoorn; who knows his Gouda and Bois-le-duc and Alkmaar and Kampen and Utrecht: this man does not fret over wasted days."

Mr. Corbeille continues, later: "Looking down a side street of Rotterdam at the enormous flank of St. Lawrence's, and again at St. Peter's in Leyden, it seems as if all the bricks in the world have been built up in one place. Apart from their smaller size, bricks appear far more numerous in a wall than do blocks of stone, because they make a stronger contrast with the mortar. In the laborious articulation of these millions of clay blocks one first finds Egypt; then quickly remembers how indigenous it all is, and how characteristic of the untiring Hollander, who rules the waves even more proudly than the Briton, and has cheated them of the very ground beneath his feet. And if sermons may be found in bricks as well as stones, one has a thought while looking at them about Christianity itself. Certainly there is often pitiful littleness and short-comings in the individual believer, just as each separate brick of these millions is stained or worn or fractured; and yet the Christian Church, august and significant, still towers before men; even as these old blocks of clay compile vastly and undeniably in an overpowering whole."

Among a huddle of bad and indifferent pictures in the Kunstliefde Museum is a series of four long paintings by Jan van Scorel (whom we met at Rotterdam), representing a band of pilgrims who travelled from Utrecht to Jerusalem in the sixteenth century. Two of these pictures are reproduced on the opposite page, the principal figure in the lower one--in the middle, in white--being Jan van Scorel himself. The faces are all such as one can believe in; just so, we feel, did the pilgrims look, and what a thousand pities there was no Jan van Scorel to accompany Chaucer! These are the best pictures in Utrecht, which cannot have any great interest in art or it would not allow that tramway through its bell tower. In the reproduction the faces necessarily become very small, but they are still full of character, and one may see the sympathetic hand of a master in all.

Jan van Scorel was only a settler in Utrecht; the most illustrious citizen to whom it gave birth was Paulus Moreelse, but the city has, I think, only one of his pictures, and that not his best. He was born in 1571, and he died at Utrecht in 1638. His portraits are very rich: either he had interesting sitters or he imparted interest to them. Opposite page 40 I have reproduced his portrait of a lady in the Ryks Museum at Amsterdam, which amongst so many fine pictures one may perhaps at the outset treat with too little ceremony, but which undoubtedly will assert itself. It is a picture that, as we say, grows on one: the Unknown Lady becomes more and more mischievous, more and more necessary.

The little Archiepiscopal Museum at Utrecht is as small--or as large--as a museum should be: one can see it comfortably. It has many treasures, all ecclesiastical, and seventy different kinds of lace; but to me it is memorable for the panel portrait of a woman by Jan van Scorel, a very sweet sedate face, beautifully painted, which one would like to coax into a less religious mood.

Utrecht is very proud of a wide avenue of lime trees--a triple avenue, as one often sees in Holland--called the Maliebaan; but more beautiful are the semi-circular Oude and Nieuwe Grachts, with their moat-like canals laving the walls of serene dignified houses, each gained by its own bridge.

At the north end of the Maliebaan is the Hoogeland Park, with a fringe of spacious villas that might be in Kensington; and here is the Antiquarian Museum, notable among its very miscellaneous riches, which resemble the bankrupt stock of a curiosity dealer, for the most elaborate dolls' house in Holland--perhaps in the world. Its date is 1680, and it represents accurately the home of a wealthy aristocratic doll of that day. Nothing was forgotten by the designer of this miniature palace; special paintings, very nude, were made for its salon, and the humblest kitchen utensils are not missing. I thought the most interesting rooms the office where the Major Domo sits at his intricate labours, and the store closet. The museum has many very valuable treasures, but so many poor pictures and articles--all presents or legacies--that one feels that it must be the rule to accept whatever is offered, without any scrutiny of the horse's teeth.

Chapter IV

Delft

To Delft by canal--House-cleaning by immersion--The New
Church--William the Silent's tomb--His assassin--The story
of the crime--The tomb of Grotius--Dutch justice--The
Old Church--Admiral Tromp--The mission of the broom--The
sexton's pipe--Vermeer of Delft--Lost masterpieces--The wooden
petticoat--Modern Delft pottery and old breweries.

I travelled to Delft from Rotterdam in a little steam passenger barge, very long and narrow to fit it for navigating the locks; which, as it is, it scrapes. We should have started exactly at the hour were it not that a very small boy on the bank interrupted one of the crew who was unmooring the boat by asking for a light for his cigar, and the transaction delayed us a minute.

It rained dismally, and I sat in the stuffy cabin, either peering at the country through the window or talking with a young Dutchman, the only other traveller. At one village a boy was engaged in house-cleaning by immersing the furniture, piece by piece, bodily in the canal. Now and then we met a barge in full sail on its way to Rotterdam, or overtook one being towed towards Delft, the man at the rope bent double under what looked like an impossible task.

Little guides to the tombs in both the Old and the New Church of Delft have been prepared for the convenience of visitors by Dr. G. Morre, and translations in English have been made by D. Goslings, both gentlemen, I presume, being local savants. The New Church contains the more honoured dust, for there repose not only William the Silent, who was perhaps the greatest of modern patriots and rulers, but also Grotius.

The tomb of William the Silent is an elaborate erection, of stone and marble, statuary and ornamentation. Justice and Liberty, Religion and Valour, represented by female figures, guard the tomb. It seems to me to lack impressiveness: the man beneath was too fine to need all this display and talent. More imposing is the simplicity of the monument to the great scholar near by. Yet remembering the struggle of William the Silent against Spain and Rome, it is impossible to stand unmoved before the marble figure of the Prince, lying there for all time with his dog at his feet--the dog who, after the noble habit of the finest of such animals, refused food and drink when his master died, and so faded away rather than owe allegiance and affection to a lesser man.

There is an eloquent Latin epitaph in gold letters on the tomb; but a better epitaph is to be found in the last sentence of Motley's great history, perhaps the most perfect last sentence that any book ever had: "As long as he lived, he was the guiding-star of a whole brave nation, and when he died the little children cried in the streets".

Opposite the Old Church is the Gymnasium Publicum. Crossing the court-yard and entering the confronting doorway, one is instantly on the very spot where William the Silent, whose tomb we have just seen, met his death on July 10th, 1584.

The Prince had been living at Delft for a while, in this house, his purpose partly being to be in the city for the christening of his son Frederick Henry. To him on July 8th came a special messenger from the French Court with news of the death of the Duke of Anjou; the messenger, a _protégé_ of the Prince's, according to his own story being Francis Guion, a mild and pious Protestant, whose father had been martyred as a Calvinist. How far removed was the truth Motley shall tell: "Francis Guion, the Calvinist, son of the martyred Calvinist, was in reality Balthazar Gérard, a fanatical Catholic, whose father and mother were still living at Villefans in Burgundy. Before reaching man's estate, he had formed the design of murdering the Prince of Orange, 'who, so long as he lived, seemed like to remain a rebel against the Catholic King, and to make every effort to disturb the repose of the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion'. When but twenty years of age, he had struck his dagger with all his might into a door, exclaiming, as he did so, 'Would that the blow had been in the heart of Orange!'"

In 1582, however, the news had gone out that Jaureguy had killed the Prince at Antwerp, and Gérard felt that his mission was at an end. But when the Prince recovered, his murderous enthusiasm redoubled, and he offered himself formally and with matter-of-fact precision to the Prince of Parma as heaven's minister of vengeance. The Prince, who had long been seeking such an emissary, at first declined the alliance: he had become too much the prey of soldiers of fortune who represented themselves to be expert murders but in whom he could put no trust. In Motley's words: "Many unsatisfactory assassins had presented themselves from time to time, and Alexander had paid money in hand to various individuals--Italians, Spaniards, Lorrainers, Scotchmen, Englishmen, who had generally spent the sums received without attempting the job. Others were supposed to be still engaged in the enterprise, and at that moment there were four persons--each unknown to the others, and of different nations--in the city of Delft, seeking to compass the death of William the Silent. Shag-eared, military, hirsute ruffians, ex-captains of free companies and such marauders, were daily offering their services; there was no lack of them, and they had done but little. How should Parma, seeing this obscure, undersized, thin-bearded, runaway clerk before him, expect pith and energy from _him_? He thought him quite unfit for an enterprise of moment, and declared as much to his secret councillors and to the King."

Gérard, however, had supporters, and in time the Prince of Parma came to take a more favourable view of his qualifications and sincerity, but his confidence was insufficient to warrant him in advancing any money for the purpose. The result was that Gérard, whose dominating idea amounted to mania, proceeded in his own way. His first step was to ingratiate himself with the Prince of Orange. This he did by a series of misrepresentations and fraud, and was recommended by the Prince to the Signeur of Schoneval, who on leaving Delft on a mission to the Duke of Anjou, added him to his suite.

The death of the Duke gave Gérard his chance, and he obtained permission to carry despatches to the Prince of Orange, as we have seen. The Prince received him in his bedroom, after his wont. Motley now relates the tragedy: "Here was an opportunity such as he (Gérard) had never dared to hope for. The arch-enemy to the Church and to the human race, whose death would confer upon his destroyer wealth and nobility in this world, besides a crown of glory in the next, lay unarmed, alone, in bed, before the man who had thirsted seven long years for his blood.

"Balthazar could scarcely control his emotions sufficiently to answer the questions which the Prince addressed to him concerning the death of Anjou, but Orange, deeply engaged with the despatches, and with the reflections which their deeply important contents suggested, did not observe the countenance of the humble Calvinistic exile, who had been recently recommended to his patronage by Villiers. Gérard had, moreover, made no preparation for an interview so entirely unexpected, had come unarmed, and had formed no plan for escape. He was obliged to forego his prey most when within his reach, and after communicating all the information which the Prince required, he was dismissed from the chamber.

"It was Sunday morning, and the bells were tolling for church. Upon leaving the house he loitered about the courtyard, furtively examining the premises, so that a sergeant of halberdiers asked him why he was waiting there. Balthazar meekly replied that he was desirous of attending divine worship in the church opposite, but added, pointing to his shabby and travel-stained attire, that, without at least a new pair of shoes and stockings, he was unfit to join the congregation. Insignificant as ever, the small, pious, dusty stranger excited no suspicion in the mind of the good-natured sergeant. He forthwith spoke of the want of Gérard to an officer, by whom they were communicated to Orange himself, and the Prince instantly ordered a sum of money to be given him. Thus Balthazar obtained from William's charity what Parma's thrift had denied--a fund for carrying out his purpose!

"Next morning, with the money thus procured he purchased a pair of pistols, or small carabines, from a soldier, chaffering long about the price because the vendor could not supply a particular kind of chopped bullets or slugs which he desired. Before the sunset of the following day that soldier had stabbed himself to the heart, and died despairing, on hearing for what purpose the pistols had been bought.

"On Tuesday, the 10th of July, 1584, at about half-past twelve, the Prince, with his wife on his arm, and followed by the ladies and gentlemen of his family, was going to the dining-room. William the Silent was dressed upon that day, according to his usual custom, in very plain fashion. He wore a wide-leaved, loosely shaped hat of dark felt, with a silken cord round the crown,--such as had been worn by the Beggars in the early days of the revolt. A high ruff encircled his neck, from which also depended one of the Beggars' medals, with the motto, '_Fidèles au roy jusqu'à la besace_,' while a loose surcoat of gray frieze cloth, over a tawny leather doublet, with wide slashed underclothes completed his costume. [1]

"Gérard presented himself at the doorway, and demanded a passport. The Princess, struck with the pale and agitated countenance of the man, anxiously questioned her husband concerning the stranger. The Prince carelessly observed, that 'it was merely a person who came for a passport,' ordering, at the same time, a secretary forthwith to prepare one. The Princess, still not relieved, observed in an undertone that 'she had never seen so villanous a countenance'. Orange, however, not at all impressed with the appearance of Gérard, conducted himself at table with his usual cheerfulness, conversing much with the burgomaster of Leeuwarden, the only guest present at the family dinner, concerning the political and religious aspects of Friesland. At two o'clock the company rose from table. The Prince led the way, intending to pass to his private apartments above. The dining-room, which was on the ground-floor, opened into a little square vestibule which communicated, through an arched passage-way, with the main entrance into the court-yard. This vestibule was also directly at the foot of the wooden staircase leading to the next floor, and was scarcely six feet in width. [2]

"Upon its left side, as one approached the stairway, was an obscure arch, sunk deep in the wall, and completely in the shadow of the door. Behind this arch a portal opened to the narrow lane at the side of the house. The stairs themselves were completely lighted by a large window, half-way up the flight. The Prince came from the dining-room, and began leisurely to ascend. He had only reached the second stair, when a man emerged from the sunken arch, and, standing within a foot or two of him, discharged a pistol full at his heart."

When Jaureguy had fired at the Prince two years earlier, the ball passing through his jaw, the Prince, at he faltered under the shock, cried, "Do not kill him--I forgive him my death!" But he had no time to express any such plea for his assailant after Gérard's cruel shots. "Three balls," says Motley, "entered his body, one of which, passing quite through him, struck with violence against the wall beyond. The Prince exclaimed in French, as he felt the wound, 'O my God, have mercy upon my soul! O my God, have mercy upon this poor people!'

"These were the last words he ever spoke, save that when his sister, Catherine of Schwartzburgh, immediately afterwards asked him if he commended his soul to Jesus Christ, he faintly answered, 'Yes'."

Never has the pistol done worse work. The Prince was only fifty-one; he was full of vigour; his character had never been stronger, his wisdom never more mature. Had he lived a few years longer the country would have been saved years of war and misery.

One may stand to-day exactly where the Prince stood when he was shot. The mark of a bullet in the wall is still shown. The dining-room, from which he had come, now contains a collection of relics of his great career.

Let us return to the New Church, past the statue of Grotius in the great square, in order to look again at that philosopher's memorial. Grotius, who was born at Delft, was extraordinarily precocious. He went to Leyden University and studied under Scaliger when he was eleven; at sixteen he was practising as a lawyer at The Hague. This is D. Goslings' translation of the inscription on his tomb:--

_Sacred to Hugo Grotius_

The Wonder of Europe, the sole astonishment of the learned world, the splendid work of nature surpassing itself, the summit of genius, the image of virtue, the ornament raised above mankind, to whom the defended honour of true religion gave cedars from the top of Lebanon, whom Mars adorned with laurels and Pallas with olive branches, when he had published the right of war and peace: whom the Thames and the Seine regarded as the wonder of the Dutch, and whom the court of Sweden took in its service: Here lies _Grotius_. Shun this tomb, ye who do not burn with love of the Muses and your country.

Grotius can hardly have burned with love of the sense of justice of his own country, for reasons with which we are familiar. His sentence of life-long imprisonment, passed by Prince Maurice of Orange, who lies hard by in the same church, was passed in 1618. His escape in the chest (like General Monk in _Twenty Years After_) was his last deed on Dutch soil. Thenceforward he lived in Paris and Sweden, England and Germany, writing his _De Jure Belli et Pacis_ and other works. He died in 1645, when Holland claimed him again, as Oxford has claimed Shelley.

The principal tomb in the Old Church of Delft is that of Admiral Tromp, the Dutch Nelson. While quite a child he was at sea with his father off the coast of Guinea when an English cruiser captured the vessel and made him a cabin boy. Tromp, if he felt any resentment, certainly lived to pay it back, for he was our victor in thirty-three naval engagements, the last being the final struggle in the English-Dutch war, when he defeated Monk off Texel in the summer of 1653, and was killed by a bullet in his heart. The battle is depicted in bas-relief on the tomb, but the eye searches the marble in vain for any reminder of the broom which the admiral is said to have lashed to his masthead as a sign to the English that it was his habit to sweep their seas. The story may be a myth, but the Dutch sculptor who omitted to remember it and believe in it is no friend of mine.

This is D. Goslings' translation of Tromp's epitaph:--

_For an Eternal Memorial_

You, who love the Dutch, virtue and true labour, read and mourn.

The ornament of the Dutch people, the formidable in battle, lies low, he who never lay down in his life, and taught by his example that a commander should die standing, he, the love of his fellow-citizens, the terror of his enemies, the wonder of the ocean.

_Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp_, a name comprehending more praise than this stone can contain, a stone truly too narrow for him, for whom East and West were a school, the sea the occasion of triumph, the whole world the scene of his glory, he, a certain ruin to pirates, the successful protector of commerce; useful through his familiarity, not low; after having ruled the sailors and the soldiers, a rough sort of people, in a fatherly and efficaciously benignant manner; after fifty battles in which he was commander or in which he played a great part; after incredible victories, after the highest honours though below his merits, he at last in the war against the English, nearly victor but certainly not beaten, on the 10th of August, 1653, of the Christian era, at the age of fifty-six years, has ceased to live and to conquer.

The fathers of the United Netherlands have erected this memorial in honour of this highly meritorious hero.

There lie in Delft's Old Church also Pieter Pieterzoon Hein, Lieut.-Admiral of Holland; and Elizabeth van Marnix, wife of the governor of Bergen-op-Zoom, whose epitaph runs thus:--

Here am I lying, I _Elizabeth_, born of an illustrious and ancient family, wife to Morgan, I, daughter of Marnix, a name not unknown in the world, which, in spite of time, will always remain. There is virtue enough in having pleased one husband, which his so precious love testifies.

The tomb of Antony van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope, is also to be seen in the church. "As everybody, O Wanderer," the epitaph concludes, "has respect for old age and wonderful parts, tread this spot with respect; here grey science lies buried with Leeuwenhoek."

Each of the little guide-books, which are given to every purchaser of a ticket to enter the churches, is prefaced by four "Remarks," of which I quote the third and fourth:--

3. Visitors are requested not to bestow gifts on the sexton or his assistants, as the former would lose his situation, if he accepted; he is responsible for his assistants.

4. The sexton or his assistants will treat the visitors with the greatest politeness.

I am not certain about the truth of either of these clauses, particularly the last. Let me explain.

The sexton of the Old Church hurried me past these tombs with some impatience. I should naturally have taken my time, but his attitude of haste made it imperative to do so. Sextons must not be in a hurry. After a while I found out why he chafed: he wanted to smoke. He fumbled his pipe and scraped his boots upon the stones. I studied the monuments with a scrutiny that grew more and more minute and elaborate; and soon his matches were in his hand. I wanted to tell him that if I were the only obstacle he might smoke to his heart's content, but it seemed to be more amusing to watch and wait. My return to the tomb of the ingenious constructor of the microscope settled the question. Probably no one had ever spent more than half a minute on poor Leeuwenhoek before; and when I turned round again the pipe was alight. The sexton also was a changed man: before, he had been taciturn, contemptuous; now he was communicative, gay. He told me that the organist was blind--but none the less a fine player; he led me briskly to the carved pulpit and pointed out, with some exaltation, the figure of Satan with his legs bound. The cincture seemed to give him a sense of security.

In several ways he made it impossible for me to avoid disregarding Clause 3 in the little guide-books; but I feel quite sure that he has not in consequence lost his situation.

Delft's greatest painter was Johannes Vermeer, known as Vermeer of Delft, of whom I shall have much to say both at the Hague and Amsterdam. He was born at Delft in 1632, he died there in 1675; and of him but little more is known. It has been said that he studied under Karel Fabritius (also of Delft), but if this is so the term of pupil-age must have been very brief, for Fabritius did not reach Delft (from Rembrandt's studio) until 1652, when Vermeer was twenty, and he was killed in an explosion in 1654. One sees the influence of Fabritius, if at all, most strongly in the beautiful early picture at The Hague, in the grave, grand manner, of Diana? but the influence of Italy is even more noticeable. Fabritius's "Siskin" is hung beneath the new Girl's Head by Vermeer (opposite page 2 of this book), but they have nothing in common. To see how Vermeer derived from Rembrandt viâ Fabritius one must look at the fine head by Fabritius in the Boymans Museum at Rotterdam, so long attributed to Rembrandt, but possessing a certain radiance foreign to him.

How many pictures Vermeer painted between 1653, when he was admitted to the Delft Guild as a master, and 1675, when he died, cannot now be said; but it is reasonable to allot to each of those twenty-three years at least five works. As the known pictures of Vermeer are very few--fewer than forty, I believe--some great discoveries may be in store for the diligent, or, more probably, the lucky.

I have read somewhere--but cannot find the reference again--of a ship that left Holland for Russia in the seventeenth century, carrying a number of paintings by the best artists of that day--particularly, if I remember, Gerard Dou. The vessel foundered and all were lost. It is possible that Vermeer may have been largely represented.

Only comparatively lately has fame come to him, his first prophet being the French critic Thoré (who wrote as "W. Burger"), and his second Mr. Henri Havard, the author of very pleasant books on Holland from which I shall occasionally quote. Both these enthusiasts wrote before the picture opposite page 2 was exhibited, or their ecstasies might have been even more intense.

In the Senate House at Delft in 1641 John Evelyn the diarist saw "a mighty vessel of wood, not unlike a butter-churn, which the adventurous woman that hath two husbands at one time is to wear on her shoulders, her head peeping out at the top only, and so led about the town, as a penance". I did not see this; but the punishment was not peculiar to Delft. At Nymwegen these wooden petticoats were famous too.

Nor did I visit the porcelain factory, having very little interest in its modern products. But the old Delft ware no one can admire more than I do. A history of Delft written by Dirk van Bleyswijck and published in 1667, tells us that the rise of the porcelain industry followed the decline of brewing. The author gives with tears a list of scores of breweries that ceased to exist between 1600 and 1640. All had signs, among them being:--

The Popinjay.
The Great Bell.
The White Lily.
The Three Herrings.
The Double Battle-axe.
The Three Acorns.
The Black Unicorn.
The Three Lilies.
The Curry-Comb.
The Three Hammers.
The Double Halberd.

I would rather have explored any of those breweries than the modern Delft factory.

Ireland, by the way, mentions a whimsical sign-board which he saw somewhere in Holland, but which I regret to say I did not find. "It was a tree bearing fruit, and the branches filled with little, naked urchins, seemingly just ripened into life, and crying for succour: beneath, a woman holds up her apron, looking wistfully at the children, as if intreating them to jump into her lap. On inquiry, I found it to be the house of a sworn midwife, with this Dutch inscription prefixed to her name:--

'Vang my, ik zal zoet zyn,'

that is, 'Catch me, I'll be a sweet boy'. This new mode of procreation, so truly whimsical, pleased me," Ireland adds, "not a little."

Let me close this chapter by quoting from an essay by my friend, Mr. Belloc, a lyrical description of the Old Church's wonderful wealth of bells: "Thirdly, the very structure of the thing is bells. Here the bells are more even than the soul of a Christian spire; they are its body, too, its whole self. An army of them fills up all the space between the delicate supports and framework of the upper parts. For I know not how many feet, in order, diminishing in actual size and in the perspective also of that triumphant elevation, stand ranks on ranks of bells from the solemn to the wild, from the large to the small, a hundred, or two hundred or a thousand. There is here the prodigality of Brabant and Hainaut and the Batavian blood, a generosity and a productivity in bells without stint, the man who designed it saying: 'Since we are to have bells, let us have bells; not measured out, calculated, expensive, and prudent bells, but careless bells, self-answering multitudinous bells; bells without fear, bells excessive and bells innumerable; bells worthy of the ecstacies that are best thrown out and published in the clashing of bells. For bells are single, like real pleasures, and we will combine such a great number that they may be like the happy and complex life of a man. In a word, let us be noble and scatter our bells and reap a harvest till our town is famous in its bells,' So now all the spire is more than clothed with them; they are more than stuff or ornament: they are an outer and yet sensitive armour, all of bells.

"Nor is the wealth of these bells in their number only, but also in their use--for they are not reserved in any way, out ring tunes and add harmonies at every half and a quarter and at all the hours both by night and by day. Nor must you imagine that there is any obsession of noise through this; they are far too high and melodious, and (what is more) too thoroughly a part of all the spirit of Delft to be more than a perpetual and half-forgotten impression of continual music; they render its air sacred and fill it with something so akin to an uplifted silence as to leave one--when one has passed from their influence--asking what balm that was which soothed all the harshness of sound about one."

Chapter V

The Hague

Dutch precision--Shaping hands--Nature under control--Willow
_v_. Neptune--The lost star--S'Gravenhage--The
Mauritshuis--Rembrandt--The "School of Anatomy"--Jan
Vermeer of Delft--The frontispiece--Other pictures--The
Municipal Museum--Baron Steengracht's collection--The Mesdag
treasures--French romantics at The Hague--The Binnenhof--John
van Olden Barneveldt--Man's cruelty to man--The churches--The
fish market and first taste of Scheveningen--A crowded
street--Holland's reading--The Bosch--The club--The House
in the Wood--Mr. "Secretary" Prior--Old marvels--Howell the
receptive and Coryate the credulous.

Although often akin to the English, the Dutch character differs from it very noticeably in the matter of precision. The Englishman has little precision; the Dutchman has too much. He bends everything to it. He has at its dictates divided his whole country into parellelograms. Even the rushes in his swamps are governed by the same law. The carelessness of nature is offensive to him; he moulds and trains on every hand, as one may see on the railway journey to The Hague. Trees he endures only so long as they are obedient and equidistant: he likes them in avenues or straight lines; if they grow otherwise they must be pollarded. It is true that he has not touched the Bosch, at The Hague; but since his hands perforce have been kept off its trees, he has run scores of formal straight well-gravelled paths beneath their branches.

This passion for interference grew perhaps from exultation upon successful dealings with the sea. A man who by his own efforts can live in security below sea-level, and graze cattle luxuriantly where sand and pebbles and salt once made a desert, has perhaps the right to feel that everything in nature would be the better for a little manipulation. Eyes accustomed to the careless profusion that one may see even on a short railway journey in England are shocked to find nature so tractable both in land and water.

The Dutchman's pruning, however, is not done solely for the satisfaction of exerting control. These millions of pollarded willows which one sees from the line have a deeper significance than might ever be guessed at: it is they that are keeping out Holland's ancient enemy, the sea. In other words, a great part of the basis of the strength of the dykes is imparted by interwoven willow boughs, which are constantly being renewed under the vigilant eyes of the dyke inspectors. For the rest, the inveterate trimming of trees must be a comparatively modern custom, for many of the old landscapes depict careless foliage--Koninck's particularly. And look, for instance, at that wonderful picture--perhaps the finest landscape in Dutch art--Rembrandt's etching "The Three Trees". There is nothing in North Holland to-day as unstudied as that. I doubt if you could now find three trees of such individuality and courage.

When I was first at The Hague, seven years ago, I stayed not, as on my last visit, at the Oude Doelen, which is the most comfortable hotel in Holland, but at a more retired hostelry. It was spacious and antiquated, with large empty rooms, and cool passages, and an air of decay over all. Servants one never saw, nor any waiter proper; one's every need was carried out by a very small and very enthusiastic boy. "Is the hroom good, sare?" he asked, as he flung open the door of the bedroom with a superb flourish. "Is the sham good, sare?" he asked as he laid a pot of preserve on the table. He was the landlady's son or grandson, and a better boy never lived, but his part, for all his spirit and good humour, was a tragic one. For the greatest misfortune that can come upon an hotel-keeper had crushed this house: Bædeker had excised their star!

The landlady moved in the background, a disconsolate figure with a grievance. She waylaid us as we went out and as we came in. Was it not a good hotel? Was not the management excellent? Had we any complaints? And yet--see--once she had a star and now it was gone. Could we not help to regain it? Here was the secret of the grandson's splendid zeal. The little fellow was fighting to hitch the old hotel to a star once more, as Emerson had bidden.

Alas, it was in vain; for that was seven years ago, and I see that Bædeker still withholds the distinction. What a variety of misfortune this little world holds! While some of us are indulging our right to be unhappy over a thousand trivial matters, such as illness and disillusion, there are inn-keepers on the Continent who are staggering and struggling under real blows.

I wondered if it were better to have had a star and lost it, than never to have had a star at all. But I did not ask. The old lady's grief was too poignant, her mind too practical, for such questions.

S'Gravenhage or Den Haag, or The Hague as we call it, being the seat of the court, is at once the most civilised and most expensive of the Dutch cities. But it is not conspicuously Dutch, and is interesting rather for its pictures and for its score of historic buildings about the Vyver than for itself. Take away the Vyver and its surrounding treasures and a not very noteworthy European town would remain.

And yet to say so hardly does justice to this city, for it has a character of its own that renders it unique: cosmopolitan and elegant; catholic in its tastes; indulgent to strangers; aristocratic; well-spaced and well built; above all things, bland.

And the Vyver is a jewel set in its midst, beautiful by day and beautiful by night, with fascinating reflections in it at both times, and a special gift for the transmission of bells in a country where bells are really honoured. On its north side is the Vyverberg with pleasant trees and a row of spacious and perfectly self-composed white houses, one of which, at the corner, has in its windows the most exquisite long lace curtains in this country of exquisite long lace curtains.

On the south side are the Binnenhof and the Mauritshuis--in the Mauritshuis being the finest works of the two greatest Dutch painters, Rembrandt of the Rhine and Vermeer of Delft. It is largely by these possessions that The Hague holds her place as a city of distinction.

Rembrandt's "School of Anatomy" and Paul Potter's "Bull" are the two pictures by which every one knows the Mauritshuis collection; and it is the bull which maintains the steadier and larger crowd. But it is not a work that interests me. My pictures in the Mauritshuis are above all the "School of Anatomy," Vermeer's "View of Delft," his head of a young girl, and the Jan Steens. We have magnificent Rembrandts in London; but we have nothing quite on the same plane of interest or mastery as the "School of Anatomy ". Holland has not always retained her artists' best, but in the case of Rembrandt and Hals, Jan Steen and Vermeer, she has made no mistakes. Rembrandt's "School of Anatomy," his "Night Watch," and his portrait of Elizabeth Bas are all in Holland. I can remember no landscape in Holland in the manner of that in our National Gallery in which, in conformity with the taste of certain picture buyers, he dropped in an inessential Tobias and Angel; but for the finest examples of his distinction and power as a painter of men one must go to The Hague and Amsterdam. In the Mauritshuis are sixteen Rembrandts, including the portrait of himself in a steel casque, and (one of my favourites) the head of the demure nun-like and yet merry-hearted Dutch maiden reproduced opposite the next page, which it is impossible to forget and yet difficult, when not looking at it, to recall with any distinctness--as is so often the case with one's friends in real life.

If any large number of visitors to Holland taken at random were asked to name the best of Rembrandt's pictures they would probably say the "Night Watch". But I fancy that a finer quality went to the making of the "School of Anatomy". I fancy that the "School of Anatomy" is the greatest work of art produced by northern Europe.

To Jan Steen and his work we come later, in the chapter on Leyden, but of Vermeer, whom we saw at Delft, this is one place to speak. Of the "View of Delft" there is a reproduction opposite page 58, yet it can convey but little suggestion of its beauty. In the case of the picture opposite page 2 there is only a loss of colour: a great part of its beauty is retained; but the "View of Delft" must be seen in the original before one can speak of it at all. Its appeal is more intimate than any other old Dutch landscape that I know. I say old, because modern painters have a few scenes which soothe one hardly less--two or three of Matthew Maris's, and Mauve's again and again. But before Maris and Mauve came the Barbizon influence; whereas Vermeer had no predecessors, he had to find his delicate path for himself. To explain the charm of the "View of Delft" is beyond my power; but there it is. Before Rembrandt one stands awed, in the presence of an ancient giant; before Vermeer one rejoices, as in the presence of a friend and contemporary.

The head of a young girl, from the same brush, which was left to the nation as recently as 1903, is reproduced opposite page 2. To me it is one of the most beautiful things in Holland. It is, however, in no sense Dutch: the girl is not Dutch, the painting is Dutch only because it is the work of a Dutchman. No other Dutch painter could compass such liquid clarity, such cool surfaces. Indeed, none of the others seem to have tried: a different ideal was theirs. Apart, however, from the question of technique, upon which I am not entitled to speak, the picture has to me human interest beyond description. There is a winning charm in this simple Eastern face that no words of mine can express. All that is hard in the Dutch nature dissolves beneath her reluctant smile. She symbolises the fairest and sweetest things in the Eleven Provinces. She makes Holland sacred ground.

Vermeer, although always a superb craftsman, was not always inspired. In the next room to the "View of Delft" and the girl's head is his "New Testament Allegory," a picture which I think I dislike more than any other, so false seems to me its sentiment and so unattractive its character. Yet the sheer painting of it is little short of miraculous.

Among other Dutch pictures in the Mauritshuis which I should like to mention for their particular charm are Gerard Dou's "Young Housekeeper," to which we come in the chapter on Leyden's painters; Ostade's "Proposal," one of the pleasantest pictures which he ever signed; Ruisdael's "View of Haarlem" and Terburg's portraits. I single these out. But when I think of the marvels of painting that remain, of which I have said not a word, I am only too conscious of the uselessness of such a list. Were this a guide-book I should say more, mentioning also the work of the other schools, not Dutch, notably a head of Jane Seymour by Holbein, a Velasquez, and so forth. But I must not.

After the Mauritshuis, the Municipal Museum, which also overlooks the Vyver's placid surface, is a dull place except for the antiquary. In its old views of the city, which are among its most interesting possessions, the evolution of the neighbouring Doelen hotel may be studied by the curious--from its earliest days, when it was a shooting gallery, to its present state of spaciousness and repute, basking in its prosperity and cherishing the proud knowledge that Peter the Great has slept under its hospitable roof, and that it was there that the Russian delegate resided when, in 1900, the Czar convoked at The Hague the Peace Conference which he was the first to break.

In one room of the Municipal Museum are the palette and easel of Johannes Bosboom, Holland's great painter of churches. His last unfinished sketch rests on the easel. No collection of modern Dutch art is complete without a sombre study of Gothic arches by this great artist. All his work is good, but I saw nothing better than the water-colour drawing in the Boymans Museum at Rotterdam, which is reproduced opposite page 132.

At The Hague one may also see, whenever the family is not in residence, the collection of Baron Steengracht in one of the ample white mansions on the Vyverberg. Most interesting of the pictures to me are Jan Steen's family group, which, however, for all its wonderful drawing, is not in his most interesting manner; a very deft Metsu, "The Sick Child"; a horse by Albert Cuyp; a characteristic group of convivial artists by Adrian Brouwer, including Hals, Ostade, Jan Steen and the painter himself; and--best of all--Terburg's wholly charming "Toilette," an old woman combing the head of a child.

Quite recently the Mesdag Museum has been added to the public exhibitions of The Hague. This is the house of Hendriks Willem Mesdag, the artist, which, with all its Barbizon treasures, with noble generosity he has made over to the nation in his lifetime. Mesdag, who is himself one of the first of living Dutch painters, has been acquiring pictures for many years, and his collection, by representing in every example the taste of a single connoisseur, has thus the additional interest of unity. Mesdag's own paintings are mostly of the sea--a grey sea with a few fishing boats, very true, very quiet and simple. How many times he and James Maris painted Scheveningen's shore probably no one could compute. His best-known work is probably the poster advertising the Harwich and Hook-of-Holland route, in which the two ports are joined by a chain crossing a grey sea--best known, because every one has seen this picture: it is at all the stations; although few, I imagine, have connected with it the name and fame of the Dutch artist and patron of the arts.

In the description of the Ryks collection at Amsterdam I shall say something about the pleasure of choosing one's own particular picture from a gallery. It was amusing to indulge the same humour in the Mesdag Museum: perhaps even more so than at the Ryks, for one is certain that by no means could Vermeer's little picture of "The Reader,"--the woman in the blue jacket--for example, be abstracted from those well-guarded walls, whereas it is just conceivable that one could select from these crowded little Mesdag rooms something that might not be missed. I hesitated long between a delicate Matthew Maris, the very essence of quietude, in which a girl stands by a stove, cooking; Delacroix's wonderful study of dead horses in the desert; a perfect Diaz (No. 114), an old woman in a red shawl by a pool in a wood, with its miracle of lighting; a tender little Daumier, that rare master; a Segantini drenched in sincerity and pity; and a bridge at evening (No. 127) by Jules Dupré. All these are small and could be slipped under the overcoat with the greatest ease!

Having made up my mind I returned to each and lost all my decision. I decided again, and again uncertainty conquered. And then I made a final examination, and chose No. 64--a totally new choice--a little lovely Corot, depicting a stream, two women, much essential greenness, and that liquid light of which Corot had the secret.

But I am not sure that the Diaz (who began by being an old master) is not the more exquisite picture.

For the rest, there are other Corots, among them one of his black night pieces; a little village scene by Troyon; some apples by Courbet, in the grandest manner surely in which apples ever were painted; a Monticelli; a scene of hills by Georges Michel which makes one wish he had painted the Sussex Downs; a beautiful chalk drawing by Millet; some vast silent Daubignys; a few Mauves; a very interesting early James Maris in the manner of Peter de Hooch, and a superb later James Maris--wet sand and a windy sky.

The flower of the French romantic school is represented here, brought together by a collector with a sure eye. No visitor to The Hague who cares anything for painting should miss it; and indeed no visitor who cares nothing for painting should miss it, for it may lure him to wiser ways.

The Binnenhof is a mass of medieval and later buildings extending along the south side of the Vyver, which was indeed once a part of its moat. The most attractive view of it is from the north side of the Vyver, with the long broken line of roof and gable and turret reflected in the water. The nucleus of the Binnenhof was the castle or palace of William II., Count of Holland in the thirteenth century--also Emperor of Germany and father of Florence V., who built the great hall of the knights (into which, however, one may penetrate only on Thursdays), and whose tomb we shall see in Alkmaar church. The Stadtholders made the Binnenhof their headquarters; but the present Royal Palace is half a mile north-west of it. Other buildings have been added from time to time, and the trams are now allowed to rush through with their bells jangling the while. The desecration is not so glaring as at Utrecht, but it seems thoroughly wrong--as though we were to permit a line to traverse Dean's Yard at Westminster. A more appropriate sanction is that extended to one or two dealers in old books and prints who have their stalls in the Binnenhof's cloisters.

It was in the Binnenhof that the scaffold stood on which John van Barneveldt was beheaded in 1619, the almost inevitable result of his long period of differences with the Stadtholder Maurice, son of William the Silent. His arrest, as we have seen, followed the Synod of Dort, Grotius being also removed by force. Barneveldt's imprisonment, trial and execution resemble Spanish methods of injustice more closely than one likes to think. I quote Davies' fine account of the old statesman's last moments: "Leaning on his staff, and with his servant on the other side to support his steps, grown feeble with age, Barneveldt walked composedly to the place of execution, prepared before the great saloon of the court-house. If, as it is not improbable, at the approach of death in the midst of life and health, when the intellect is in full vigour, and every nerve, sense and fibre is strung to the highest pitch of tension, a foretaste of that which is to come is sometimes given to man, and his over-wrought mind is enabled to grasp at one single effort the events of his whole past life--if, at this moment and on this spot, where Barneveldt was now to suffer a felon's death,--where he had first held out his fostering hand to the infant republic, and infused into it strength and vigour to conquer the giant of Europe,--where he had been humbly sued for peace by the oppressor of his country,--where the ambassadors of the most powerful sovereigns had vied with each other in soliciting his favour and support,--where the wise, the eloquent, and the learned, had bowed in deference to his master-spirit;--if, at this moment, the memory of all his long and glorious career on earth flashed upon his mind in fearful contrast to the present reality, with how deep feeling must he have uttered the exclamation as he ascended the scaffold, 'Oh God! what then is man?'

"Here he was compelled to suffer the last petty indignity that man could heap upon him. Aged and infirm as he was, neither stool nor cushion had been provided to mitigate the sense of bodily weakness as he performed the last duties of mortal life; and kneeling down on the bare boards, he was supported by his servant, while the minister, John Lamotius, delivered a prayer. When prepared for the block, he turned to the spectators and said, with a loud and firm voice, 'My friends, believe not that I am a traitor. I have lived a good patriot, and such I die.' He then, with his own hands, drew his cap over his eyes, and bidding the executioner 'be quick,' bowed his venerable head to the stroke.

"The populace, from various feelings, some inspired by hatred, some by affection, dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood, or carried away morsels of the blood-stained wood and sand; a few were even found to _sell_ these as relics. The body and head were laid in a coffin and buried decently, but with little ceremony, at the court church of the Hague.

"The States of Holland rendered to his memory that justice which he had been denied while living, by the words in which they recorded his death. After stating the time and manner of it, and his long period of service to his country, the resolution concludes, 'a man of great activity, diligence, memory, and conduct; yea, remarkable in every respect. Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall; and may God be merciful to his soul.'"

A very beautiful story is told of Barneveldt's widow. Her son plotting to avenge his father and crush the Stadtholder was discovered and imprisoned. His mother visited Maurice to ask his pardon. "Why," said he, "how is this--you value your son more than your husband! You did not ask pardon for him." "No," said Barneveldt's widow; "I did not ask pardon for my husband, because he was innocent; I ask pardon for my son, because he is guilty."

Prince Maurice never recovered from the error--to put for the moment no worse epithet to it--of the death of Barneveldt. He had killed his best counsellor; thenceforward his power diminished; and with every rebuff he who had abandoned his first adviser complained that God had abandoned him. Davies sums up the case thus: "The escutcheon of Maurice is bright with the record of many a deed of glory; the fabric of his country's greatness raised by his father, strengthened and beautified by himself; her armies created the masters of military science to the civilized world; her States the centre and mainspring of its negotiations; her proud foe reduced to sue humbly at her feet. But there is one dark, deep stain on which the eye of posterity, unheeding the surrounding radiance, is constantly fixed: it is the blood of Barneveldt."

The Binnenhof leads to the Buitenhof, a large open space, the old gateway to which is the Gevangenpoort prison--scene of another shameful deed in the history of Holland, the death of John and Cornelius de Witt. The massacre occurred two hundred and thirty-three years ago--in 1672. Cornelius de Witt was wrongfully accused of an attempt to procure the assassination of the Stadtholder, William III. To him, in his cell in the Gevangenpoort, came, on 22nd August, John de Witt, late Grand Pensionary, brought hither by a bogus message.

I quote from Davies, who elsewhere makes it clear that (as Dumas says) William III was privy to the crime: "His friends, fearful of some treachery, besought him to pause and inquire into the truth of the summons before he obeyed it; and his only daughter threw herself at his feet, and implored him with floods of tears not to risk unnecessarily a life so precious. But his anxiety for his brother, with whom he had ever lived on terms of the tenderest affection, proved stronger than their remonstrances; and setting out on foot, attended by his servant and two secretaries, he hastened to the prison. On seeing him, Cornelius de Witt exclaimed in astonishment, 'My brother, what do you here?' 'Did you not then send for me?' he asked; and receiving an answer in the negative, 'Then,' rejoined he, 'we are lost'.

"During this time one of the judges sent for Tichelaar, and suggested to him that he should incite the people not to suffer a villain who had intended to murder the Prince to go unpunished. True to his instructions, the miscreant spread among the crowd collected before the prison doors the report, that the torture inflicted on Cornelius de Witt was a mere pretence, and that he had only escaped the death he deserved because the judges favoured his crime. Then, entering the gaol, he presented himself at the window, and exclaimed to the crowd below, 'The dog and his brother are going out of prison! Now is your time; revenge yourselves on these two knaves, and then on thirty more, their accomplices.'

"The populace received his address with shouts and cries of 'To arms, to arms! Treason, treason!' and pressed in a still denser crowd towards the prison door. The States of Holland, immediately on information of the tumult, sent three troops of cavalry, in garrison at the Hague, for the protection of the gaol, and called out to arms six companies of burgher guards. But in the latter they only added fresh hosts to the enemies of the unfortunate captives. One company in especial, called the 'Company of the Blue Flag,' was animated with a spirit of deadly vengeance against them; its leader, Verhoef, having that morning loaded his musket with a determination either to kill the De Witts or perish in the attempt. They pressed forward towards the prison, but were driven back by the determined appearance of the cavalry, commanded by the Count de Tilly.

"So long as these troops remained, it was evident that the fell purpose of the rioters was impracticable. Accordingly, a report was raised that a band of peasants and sailors was coming to plunder The Hague; and two captains of the burgher guards took occasion from thence to demand of the Council of State, that the soldiers should be drawn off from their station, in order to protect the houses from pillage. First a verbal order, and on Tilly's refusing obedience to such, a written one, was sent, commanding him to divide his troops into four detachments, and post them upon the bridges leading into the town. 'I shall obey,' said he, as he perused the mandate; 'but it is the death-warrant of the brothers.'

"His anticipations were too soon realized. No sooner had he departed than the rioters were supplied by some of those mysterious agents who were actively employed throughout the whole of these transactions, with wine, brandy, and other incitements to inflame their already maddening fury. Led on by Verhoef and one Van Bankhem, a sheriff of The Hague, they assailed the prison door with axes and sledge-hammers, threatening to kill all the inmates if it were not instantly opened. Terrified, or corrupted, the gaoler obeyed their behests. On gaining admittance they rushed to an upper room, where they found their victims, who had throughout the whole of the tumult maintained the greatest composure. The bailiff, reduced to a state of extreme debility by the torture, was reclining on his bed; his brother was seated near him, reading the Bible. They forced them to rise and follow them 'to the place,' as they said, 'where criminals were executed'.

"Having taken a tender leave of each other, they began to descend the stairs, Cornelius de Witt leaning on his brother for support. They had not advanced above two or three paces when a heavy blow on the head from behind precipitated the former to the bottom. He was then dragged a short distance towards the street, trampled under foot, and beaten to death. Meanwhile, John de Witt, after receiving a severe wound on the head with the butt-end of a musket, was brought by Verhoef, bleeding and bare-headed, before the furious multitude. One Van Soenen immediately thrust a pike into his face, while another of the miscreants shot him in the neck, exclaiming as he fell, 'There goes down the Perpetual Edict'. Raising himself on his knees, the sufferer lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven in deep and earnest prayer. At that moment, one Verhagen struck him with his musket. Hundreds followed his example, and the cruel massacre was completed.

"Barbarities too dreadful for utterance or contemplation, all that phrenzied passion or brutal ferocity could suggest, were perpetrated on the bodies of these noble and virtuous citizens; nor was it till night put an end to the butchery, that their friends were permitted to convey their mangled remains to a secret and obscure tomb."

In the Nieuwe Kerk at The Hague the tomb of the De Witts may be seen and honoured.

The Gevangenpoort is well worth a visit. One passes tortuously from cell to cell--most of them associated with some famous breaker of the laws of God or man, principally of man. Here you may see a stone hollowed by the drops of water that plashed from the prisoner's head, on which they were timed to fall at intervals of a few seconds--a form of torture imported, I believe, from China, and after some hours ending inevitably in madness and death. Beside such a refinement the rack is a mere trifle and the Gevangenpoort's branding irons and thumb screws become only toys. A block, retaining the cuts made by the axe after it had crashed through the offending neck, is also shown; and the names of prisoners written in their blood on the walls may be traced. The building is a monument in stone of what man can do to man in the name of justice.

I referred just now to the Nieuwe Kerk, the resting-place of the De Witts. There lies also their contemporary, Spinoza, whose home at Rynsburg we shall pass on our way to Katwyk from Leyden. His house at The Hague still stands--near his statue. The Groote Kerk is older; but neither church is particularly interesting. From the Groote Kerk's tower one may, however, see a vast deal of country around The Hague--a landscape containing much greenery--and in the west the architectural monsters of Scheveningen only too visible. We shall reach Scheveningen in the next chapter, but while at The Hague it is amusing to visit the fish market in order to have sight of the good women of that town clustered about the stalls in their peculiar costume. They are Scheveningen's best. The adjoining stadhuis is a very interesting example of Dutch architecture.

The Hague has excellent shops, and one street--the Lange Pooten--more crowded in the evening, particularly on Sunday evening, than any I know. Every Dutch town has certain crowded streets in the evening, because to walk up and down after dinner is the national form of recreation. There are in the large cities a few theatres and music halls, and in the smaller, concerts in the summer; but for the most part the streets and the cafés are the great attraction. Each town has one street above all others which is frequented in this way. At The Hague it is the Lange Pooten, running into Spui Straat; at Amsterdam it is Kalverstraat.

Dutch shops are not very interesting, and the book-shops in particular are a disappointment. This is because it is not a reading people. The newspapers are sound and practical before all things: business before pleasure is their motto; and native literature is not fostered. Publishers who bring out new Dutch books usually do so on the old subscription plan. But the book-shops testify to the popularity of translations from other nations and also of foreign books in the original. The latest French and German fiction is always obtainable. Among translations from the English in 1904 I noticed a considerable number of copies of the Sherlock Holmes tales and also of two or three of Miss Corelli's works. These for adults; for boys the reading _par excellence_ was a serial romance, in weekly or monthly parts, entitled "De Wilsons en de Ring des Doods of het Spoor van pen Diamenten". The Wilsons, I gather, have been having a great run in Holland. A lurid scene in Maiden Lane was on the cover. Another story which seemed to be popular had the engaging title "Beleaguered by Jaguars".

The Hague is very proud of the Bosch--the great wood to the east of the city, with a few deer and many tall and unpollarded trees, where one may walk and ride or drive very pleasantly.

The Bosch has no restaurant within its boundaries. I mention this in order to save the reader the mortification of being conducted by a polite but firm waiter back to the gates of the pavilion in which he may reasonably have supposed he was as much entitled to order tea as any of the groups enjoying that beverage at the little tables within the enclosure, whose happiness had indeed led him to enter it. They are, however, members of a club, to which he has no more right of entry than any Dutch stranger would have to the Athenæum.

The Huis ten Bosch, or House in the Wood, which all good travellers must explore, is at the extreme eastern end of the Bosch, with pleasure grounds of its own, including a lake where royal skating parties are held. This very charming royal residence, now only occasionally occupied, is well worth seeing for its Chinese and Japanese decorations alone--apart from historical associations and mural paintings. For mural paintings unless they are very quiet I must confess to caring nothing, nor does a bed on which a temporal prince breathed his last, or his first, move me to any degree of interest; but on the walls of one room of the House in the Wood is some of the most charming Chinese embroidery I ever saw, while another is decorated in blue and white of exquisite delicacy. With these gracious schemes of upholstery I shall always associate the Huis ten Bosch.

At Leyden we shall find traces of Oliver Goldsmith: here at The Hague one may think of Mat. Prior, who was secretary to our Ambassador for some years and even wrote a copy of spritely verses on the subject.

THE SECRETARY.

Written at The Hague, 1696.

With labour assiduous due pleasure I mix,
And in one day atone for the bus'ness of six.
In a little Dutch chaise, on a Saturday night,
On my left hand my Horace, a nymph on my right:
No memoirs to compose, and no post-boy to move,
That on Sunday may hinder the softness of love;
For her, neither visits, nor parties at tea,
Nor the long-winded cant of a dull refugee:
This night and the next shall be hers, shall be mine
To good or ill-fortune the third we resign.
Thus scorning the world, and superior to Fate,
I drive in my car in professional state;
So with Phia thro' Athens Pisistratus rode,
Men thought her Minerva, and him a new god.
But why should I stories of Athens rehearse,
Where people knew love, and were partial to verse,
Since none can with justice my pleasures oppose
In Holland half-drownèd in int'rest and prose?
By Greece and past ages what need I be tried
When The Hague and the present are both on my side?
And is it enough for the joys of the day
To think what Anacreon or Sappho would say,
When good Vandergoes and his provident Vrow,
As they gaze on my triumph, do freely allow,
That, search all the province, you'll find no man dar is
So blest as the _Englishen Heer Secretár is_?

Let me close this rambling account of The Hague with a passage from James Howell, in one of his conspicuously elaborate _Familiar Letters_, written in 1622, describing some of the odd things to be seen at that day in or about the Dutch city: "We went afterwards to the _Hague_, where there are hard by, though in several places, two wonderful things to be seen, the one of _Art_, the other of _Nature_; that of _Art_ is a Waggon or Ship, or a monster mixt of both like the _Hippocentaure_ who was half man and half horse; this Engin hath wheels and sails that will hold above twenty people, and goes with the wind, being drawn or mov'd by nothing else, and will run, the wind being good, and the sails hois'd up, above fifteen miles an hour upon the even hard sands: they say this Invention was found out to entertain _Spinola_ when he came thither to treat of the last Truce." Upon this wonder, which I did not see, civilisation has now improved, the wind being but a captious and untrustworthy servant compared with petrol or steam. None the less there is still a very rapid wheeled ship at Zandvoort.

But the record of Howell's other wonder is visible still. He continues: "That wonder of _Nature_ is a Church-monument, where an Earl and a Lady are engraven with 365 children about them, which were all delivered at one birth; they were half male, half female; the two Basons in which they were Christened hang still in the Church, and the Bishop's Name who did it; and the story of this Miracle, with the year and the day of the month mentioned, which is not yet 200 years ago; and the story is this: That the Countess walking about her door after dinner, there came a Begger-woman with two Children upon her back to beg alms, the Countess asking whether those children were her own, she answer'd, she had them both at one birth, and by one Father, who was her husband. The Countess would not only not give her any alms, but reviled her bitterly, saying, it was impossible for one man to get two children at once. The Begger-woman being thus provok'd with ill words, and without alms, fell to imprecations, that it should please God to show His judgment upon her, and that she might bear at one birth as many children as there be days in the year, which she did before the same year's end, having never born child before."

The legend was naturally popular in a land of large families, and it was certainly credited without any reservation for many years. In England the rabbit-breeding woman of Dorking had her adherents too. What the beggar really wished for the Dutch lady was as many children at one birth as there were days in the year in which the conversation occurred--namely three, for the encounter was on January 3rd. Or so I have somewhere read. But it is more amusing to believe in the greater number, especially as a Dutch author has put it on record that he saw the children with his own eyes. They were of the size of shrimps, and were baptised either singly or collectively by Guy, Bishop of Utrecht. All the boys were named John and all the girls Elizabeth, They died the same day.

Thomas Coryate of the _Crudities_, who also tells the tale, believed it implicitly. "This strange history," he says, "will seem incredible (I suppose) to all readers. But it is so absolutely and undoubtedly true as nothing in the world more."

And here, hand in hand with Veritas, we leave The Hague.

Chapter VI

Scheveningen and Katwyk

The Dutch heaven--Huyghens' road--Sorgh Vliet's
builder--Jacob Cats--Homely wisdom--President Kruger--A
monstrous resort--Giant snails--The black-headed
mannikins--The etiquette of petticoats--Katwyk--The old
Rhine--Noordwyk--Noordwyk-Binnen.

Good Dutchmen when they die go to Scheveningen; but my heaven is elsewhere. To go thither is, however, no calamity, so long as one chooses the old road. It is being there that so lowers the spirits. The Oude Scheveningen Weg is perhaps the pleasantest, and certainly the shadiest, road in Holland: not one avenue but many, straight as a line in Euclid. On either side is a spreading wood, among the trees of which, on the left hand, as one leaves The Hague, is Sorgh Vliet, once the retreat of old Jacob Cats, lately one of the residences of a royal Duke, and now sold to a building company. The road dates from 1666, its projector being Constantin Huyghens, poet and statesman, whose statue may be seen at the half-way halting-place. By the time this is reached the charm of the road is nearly over: thenceforward it is all villas and Scheveningen.

But we must pause for a little while at Sorgh Vliet (which has the same meaning as _Sans Souci_), where two hundred years ago lived in genial retirement the writer who best represents the shrewd sagacity of the Dutch character--Jacob Cats, or Vader Cats as he was affectionately called, the author of the Dutch "Household Bible," a huge miscellaneous collection of wise saws and modern instances, humour and satire, upon all the businesses of life.

Mr. Austin Dobson, who leaves grains of gold on all he touches, has described in his _Side-Walk Studies_ the huge, illustrated edition of Cats' Works (Amsterdam, 1655) which is held sacred in all rightly constituted old-fashioned Dutch households. I have seen it at the British Museum, and it seems to me to be one of the best picture-books in the world.

As Mr. Dobson says, the life of old Holland is reproduced in it. "What would one not give for such an illustrated copy of Shakespeare! In these pages of Jacob Cats we have the authentic Holland of the seventeenth century:--its vanes and spires and steep-roofed houses; its gardens with their geometric tulip-beds, their formally-clipped alleys and arches, their shining parallelograms of water. Here are its old-fashioned interiors, with the deep fire-places and queer andirons, the huge four-posters, the prim portraits on the wall, the great brass-clamped coffers and carved _armories_ for the ruffs and starched collars and stiff farthingales of the women. In one picture you may see the careful housewife mournfully inspecting a moth-eaten garment which she has just taken from a chest that Wardour Street might envy; in another she is energetically cuffing the 'foolish fat scullion,' who has let the spotted Dalmatian coach-dog overturn the cauldron at the fire. Here an old crone, with her spectacles on, is cautiously probing the contents of the said cauldron with a fork; here the mistress of the house is peeling pears; here the plump and soft-hearted cheese-wife is entertaining an admirer--outside there are pictures as vivid. Here are the clumsy leather-topped coach with its masked occupant and stumbling horses; the towed _trekschuit_, with its merry freight, sliding swiftly through the low-lying landscape; the windy mole, stretching seaward, with its blown and flaring beacon-fire. Here again in the street is the toy-shop with its open front and store of mimic drums and halberds for the martial little burghers; here are the fruiteress with her stall of grapes and melons, the rat-catcher with his string of trophies, the fowler and his clap-net, the furrier with his stock of skins."

In 1860 a number of Van der Venne's best pictures were redrawn by John Leighton to accompany translations of the fables by Richard Pigot. As a taste of Cats' quality I quote two of the pieces. Why the pictures should have been redrawn when they might have been reproduced exactly is beyond my understanding. This is one poem:--

LIKE MELONS, FRIENDS ARE TO BE FOUND IN PLENTY
OF WHICH NOT EVEN ONE IS GOOD IN TWENTY.

In choosing Friends, it's requisite to use
The self-same care as when we Melons choose:
No one in haste a Melon ever buys,
Nor makes his choice till three or four he tries;
And oft indeed when purchasing this fruit,
Before the buyer can find one to suit,
He's e'en obliged t' examine half a score,
And p'rhaps not find one when his search is o'er.
Be cautious how you choose a friend;
For Friendships that are lightly made,
Have seldom any other end
Than grief to see one's trust betray'd!

And here is another:--

SMOKE IS THE FOOD OF LOVERS.

When Cupid open'd Shop, the Trade he chose
Was just the very one you might suppose.
Love keep a shop?--his trade, Oh! quickly name!
A Dealer in tobacco--Fie for shame!
No less than true, and set aside all joke,
From oldest time he ever dealt in Smoke;
Than Smoke, no other thing he sold, or made;
Smoke all the substance of his stock in trade;
His Capital all Smoke, Smoke all his store,
'Twas nothing else; but Lovers ask no more--
And thousands enter daily at his door!
Hence it was ever, and it e'er will be
The trade most suited to his faculty:--
Fed by the vapours of their heart's desire,
No other food his Votaries require;
For, that they seek--The Favour of the Fair,
Is unsubstantial as the Smoke and air.

From these rhymes, with their home-spun philosophy, one might assume Cats to have been merely a witty peasant. But he was a man of the highest culture, a great jurist, twice ambassador to England, where Charles I. laid his sword on his shoulder and bade him rise Sir Jacob, a traveller and the friend of the best intellects. From an interesting article on Dutch poetry in an old _Foreign Quarterly Review_ I take an account of the aphorist: "Vondel had for his contemporary a man, of whose popularity we can hardly give an idea, unless we say that to speak Dutch and to have learnt Cats by heart, are almost the same thing. Old Father Jacob Cats--(we beg to apologize for his unhappy name--and know not why, like the rest of his countrymen, he did not euphonize it into some well-sounding epithet, taken from Greece or Rome--Elouros, for example, or Felisius; Catsius was ventured upon by his contemporaries, but the honest grey-beard stuck to his paternities)--was a man of practical wisdom--great experience--much travel--considerable learning--and wonderful fluency. He had occupied high offices of state, and retired a patriarch amidst children and children's children, to that agreeable retreat which we mentioned as not far from The Hague, where we have often dreamed his sober and serious--but withal cheerful and happy, spirit, might still preside. His moralities are sometimes prolix, and sometimes rather dull. He often sweeps the bloom away from the imaginative anticipations of youth--and in that does little service. He will have everything substantial, useful, permanent. He has no other notion of love than that it is meant to make good husbands and wives, and to produce painstaking and obedient children.

"His poetry is rhymed counsel--kind, wise, and good. He calculates all results, and has no mercy for thoughts, or feelings, or actions, which leave behind them weariness, regret or misery. His volumes are a storehouse of prudence and worldly wisdom. For every state of life he has fit lessons, so nicely dovetailed into rhyme, that the morality seems made expressly for the language, or the language for the morality. His thoughts--all running about among the duties of life--voluntarily move in harmonious numbers, as if to think and to rhyme were one solitary attribute. For the nurse who wants a song for her babe--the boy who is tormented by the dread of the birch--the youth whose beard begins to grow--the lover who desires a posey for his lady's ring--for the husband--father--grandsire--for all there is a store--to encourage--to console--and to be grateful for. The titles of his works are indices to their contents. Among them are _De Ouderdom_, Old Age; _Buyten Leven_, Out-of-Doors Life; _Hofgedachten_, Garden Thoughts; _Gedachten op Slapelooze Nachten_, Thoughts of Sleepless Nights; _Trouwring_, Marriage Ring; _Zelfstrijt_, Self-struggle, etc. Never was a poet so essentially the poet of the people. He is always intelligible--always sensible--and, as was well said of him by Kruijff,

Smiling he teaches truth, and sporting wins to virtue."

When President Kruger died last year the memoirs of him agreed in fixing upon the Bible as his only reading. But I am certain he knew Vader Cats by heart too. If ever a master had a faithful pupil, Vader Cats had one in Oom Paul. The vivid yet homely metaphors and allegories in which Oom Paul conveyed so many of his thoughts were drawn from the same source as the emblems of Vader Cats. Both had the Æsopian gift.

We have no one English writer with whom to compare Cats; but a syndicate formed of Fuller and Burton, Cobbett and Quarles might produce something akin.

Scheveningen is half squalid town, half monstrous pleasure resort. Upon its sea ramparts are a series of gigantic buildings, greatest of which is the Curhaus, where the best music in Holland is to be heard. Its pier and its promenade are not at the first glimpse unlike Brighton's; but the vast buildings have no counterpart with us, except perhaps at Blackpool. What is, however, peculiar to Scheveningen is its expanse of sand covered with sentry-box wicker chairs. To stand on the pier on a fine day in the season and look down on these thousands of chairs and people is to receive an impression of insect-like activity that I think cannot be equalled. Immovable as they are, the chairs seem to add to the restlessness of the seething mass. What a visitor from Mars would make of it is a mystery; but he could hardly fail to connect chair and occupant. Here, he would say, is surely the abode of giant snails!

On a windy day the chairs must be of great use; but in heat they seem to me too vertical and too hard. One must, however, either sit in them or lie upon sand. There is not a pebble on the whole coast: indeed there is not a pebble in Holland. Life after lying upon sand can become to some of us a burden almost too difficult to bear; but the Dutch holiday-maker does not seem to find it so. As for the children, they are truly in Paradise. There can be no sand better to dig in than that of Scheveningen; and they dig in it all day. A favourite game seems to be to surround the parental sentry-boxes with a fosse. Every family has its castle, and every castle its moat.

I have been twice to Scheveningen, and on each occasion I acquired beneath its glittering magnitude a sense of depression. That leaven of tenderness which every collection of human beings must have was harder to find at Scheveningen than anywhere in Holland--everything was so ordered, so organised, for pleasure, pleasure at any price, pleasure almost at the point of the bayonet.

But on the second occasion one little incident saved the day--an encounter with a strolling bird-fancier who dealt in Black-Headed Mannikins. Two of these tiny brisk birds, in their Quaker black and brown, sat upon his cane to attract purchasers. They fluttered to his finger, perched on his hat, simulated death in the palm of his hand, and went through other evolutions with the speed of thought and the bright spontaneous alacrity possible only to a small loyal bird. These, however, were not for sale: these were decoys; the saleable birds lay, packed far too close, in little wooden boxes in the man's bag. And Scheveningen to me means no longer a mile of palaces, no longer a "hot huddle of humanity" on the sand among myriad sentry-boxes: its symbol is just two Black-Headed Mannikins.

From the Curhaus it is better to return to the Hague by electric tram along the new road. Save for passing a field where the fishwives of Scheveningen in their blue shawls spread and mend their nets, this road is dull and suburban; but from it, when the light is failing, a view of Scheveningen's domes and spires may be gained which, softened and made mysterious by the gloaming, translates the chief watering-place of Holland into an Eastern city of romance.

The fishwives of Scheveningen, I am told, carry the art of petticoat wearing to a higher point than any of their sisters. The appearance of the homing fleet in the offing is a signal for as many as thirty of these garments to be put on as a mark of welcome to a returning husband.

Probably no shore anywhere in the world has been so often painted as that of Scheveningen--ever since the painting of landscape seemed a worthy pursuit. James Maris' pictures of Scheveningen's wet sand, grey sea, and huge flat-bottomed ships must run into scores; Mesdag's too. Perhaps it was the artists that prevailed on the fishermen to wear crimson knickerbockers--the note of warm colour that the scene demands.

Here, although it is separated from Scheveningen by some miles of sand, I should like to say something of Katwyk--which is Leyden's marine resort. A steam-tram carries people thither many times a day. The rail, when first I travelled upon it, in April, ran through tulips; in August, when I was there again, the patches of scarlet and orange had given way to acres of massive purple-green cabbages which, in the evening light, were vastly more beautiful.

At Rynsburg, one of the villages on the way, dwelt in 1650-51 Benedict Spinoza, the philosopher, and there he wrote his abridgement of the Meditations of Descartes, his master in philosophy, who had for a while lived close by at Endegeest. Spinoza, who was born at Amsterdam in 1632, died in 1677. His house at Rynsburg, which he shared with a Colleginat (one of a sect of Remonstrants who had their headquarters there) is now a Spinoza museum; his statue is at The Hague.

Katwyk-aan-Zee is a compact little pleasure resort with the usual fantastic childish villas. Its most interesting possession is the mouth of the Old Rhine, now restricted by a canal and controlled by locks. There is perhaps no better example of the Dutch power over water than the contrast between the present narrow canal through which the river must disembogue and the unprofitable marsh which once spread here. The locks, which are nearly a hundred years old, were among the works of the engineer Conrad, whose monument is in Haarlem church.

From the Old Rhine's mouth to Noordwyk is a lonely but very bracing walk of three miles along the sand, with the dunes on one's right hand and the sea on one's left. One may meet perhaps a few shell gatherers, but no one else. We drove before us all the way a white company consisting of a score of gulls, twice as many tern, two oyster catchers and one curlew. They rose and settled, rose and settled, always some thirty yards away, until Noordwyk was reached, when we left them behind. Never was a Japanese screen so realised as by these birds against the pearl grey sea and yellow sand.

Katwyk is more cheery than Noordwyk; but Noordwyk has a prettier street--indeed, in its old part there is no prettier street in Holland in the light of sunset. As Hastings is to Eastbourne, so is Katwyk to Noordwyk; Scheveningen is Brighton, Yarmouth, and Blackpool in one. A very pretty lace cap is worn at Noordwyk by villagers and visitors alike, to hold the hair against the west wind.

From Noordwyk we walked to Noordwyk-Binnen, the real town, parent of the seaside resort; and there, at a table at the side of the main street, by an avenue so leafy as to exclude even glints of the sky, we sipped something Dutch whose name I could not assimilate, and waited for the tram for Leyden. It was the greenest tunnel I ever saw.

Chapter VII

Leyden

Steam-trams--Holland for the people--Quiet Leyden--The
Meermansburg--Leyden's museums--The call of the
open--Oliver Goldsmith--A view of the Dutch--"Polite
Learning"--"The Traveller"--James Howell--John Evelyn and the
Burgundian Jew--_Colloquia Peripatetica_--St. Peter's and
St. Pancras's--The Kermis--Drinking in Holland--Poffertjes
and Wafelen--America's master.

We travelled to Leyden from The Hague by the steam-tram, through cheerful domestic surroundings, past little Englishy cottages and gardens. It was Sunday morning, and the villagers of Voorburg and Voorschoten and the other little places _en route_ were idle and gay.

In England light railways are a rarity; Holland is covered with a net-work of them. The little trains rush along the roads all over the country, while the roadside willows rock in their eddying wake. To stand on the steam-tram footboard is one very good way to see Holland. In England of course we can never have such conveniences, England being a free country in which individual rights come first. But Holland exists for the State, and such an idea as the depreciation or ruin of property by running a tram line over it has never suggested itself. It is true that when the new electric tramway between Amsterdam and Haarlem was projected, the comic papers came to the defence of outraged Nature; but they did not really mean it, as the æsthetic minority in England would have meant it.

The steam-tram journeys are always interesting; and my advice to a traveller in Holland is to make as much use of them as he can. This is quite simple as their time-tables are included in the official Reisgids. I like them at all times; but best perhaps when one has to wait in the heart of some quiet village for the other tram to come up. There is something very soothing and attractive in these sudden cessations of noise and movement in the midst of a totally strange community.

Leyden is a paradise of clean, quiet streets--a city of professors, students and soldiers. It has, I think, the prettiest red roofs in any considerable Dutch town: not prettier than Veere's, but Veere is now only a village. Philosophers surely live here: book-worms to whom yesterday, to-day and to-morrow are one. The sense of commercial enterprise dies away: whatever they are at Amsterdam, the Dutch at Leyden cease to be a nation of shopkeepers.

It was holiday time when I was there last, and the town was comparatively empty. No songs floated through the windows of the clubs. In talk with a stranger at one of the cafés, I learned that the Dutch student works harder in the holidays than in term. In term he is a social and imbibing creature; but when the vacation comes and he returns to a home to which most of the allurements which an English boy would value are wanting, he applies himself to his books. I give the statement as I heard it.

One of the pleasantest buildings in Leyden is the Meermansburg--a spreading almshouse in the Oude Vest, surrounding a square garden with a massive pump in the midst. A few pictures are shown in the Governors' room over the entrance, but greater interest attaches to the little domiciles for the pensioners of the Meerman trust. A friendly concierge with a wooden leg showed us one of these compact houses--a sitting-room with a bed-cupboard in one wall, and below it a little larder, like the cabin of a ship. At the back a tiny range, and above, a garret. One could be very comfortable in such quarters.

Leyden has other _hofjes_, as these homes of rest are called, into one of which, gay with geraniums, I peeped--a little court of clean cottages seen through the doorway like a Peter de Hooch.

I did not, I fear, do my duty by Leyden's many museums. The sun shone; the boats swam continually down the Old Rhine and the New; and the sea at Katwyk and Noordwyk sent a call across the intervening meadows. Some day perhaps I shall find myself at Leyden again, when the sky is grey and the thirst for information is more strongly upon me. Ethnography, comparative anatomy, physiology--there is nothing that may not be learned in the Leyden museums; but such learning is not peculiarly Dutch, nor are the treasures of these museums peculiarly Dutch, and I felt that I might with a clear conscience leave them to others. Have we not Bloomsbury?

I did, however, climb the Burg, which is a circular fortress on a mound between the two rivers, so cleverly hidden away among houses that it was long ere I could find it. It is gained through an ancient courtyard full of horses and carriages--like a scene in Dumas. From the Burg one ought to have a fine view, but Leyden's roofs are too near. And in the Natural History Museum I walked through miles of birds stuffed, and birds articulated, until I felt that I could give a year's income to be on terms again with a living blackbird--even one of those that eat our Kentish strawberries at sunrise.

I did not penetrate to the interior of the University, having none to guide me, but I was pleased to remember that Oliver Goldsmith had been a student there not so very long ago. Indeed, as I walked about the town, I thought much of Goldsmith as he was in 1755, aged twenty-seven, with all his books to write, wandering through the same streets, looking upon the same houses and canals, in the interval of acquiring his mysterious medical degree (ultimately conferred at Louwain). His ingenious project, it will be remembered--by those whose memories (like my own) cling to that order of information, to the exclusion of everything useful and improving--Goldsmith's delightful plan for subsistence in Holland was to teach the English language to the Dutch, and in return receive enough money to keep him at the University of Leyden and enable him to hear the great Professor Albinus. It was not until he reached Holland that those adorable Irish brains of his realised that he who teaches English to a Dutchman must first know Dutch.

Goldsmith, who spent his life in doing characteristic things--few men have done more--when once he had determined to go to Holland, took a passage in a vessel bound for Bordeaux. At Newcastle-on-Tyne, however, on going ashore to be merry, he was arrested as a Jacobite and thrown into prison for a fortnight. The result was that the ship sailed without him. It was just as well for him and for us, for it sank at the mouth of the Garonne. In 1755, however, he was in Leyden, although by what route, circuitous or direct, he reached that city we do not know.

He lost little time in giving his Uncle Contarine an account of his impressions of Holland and its people. Here is a portion of a long letter: "The modern Dutchman is quite a different creature from him of former times: he in everything imitates a Frenchman, but in his easy disengaged air, which is the result of keeping polite company. The Dutchman is vastly ceremonious, and is perhaps exactly what a Frenchman might have been in the reign of Louis XIV. Such are the better bred. But the downright Hollander is one of the oddest figures in nature: upon a head of lank hair he wears a half-cocked narrow hat laced with black ribbon; no coat, but seven waistcoats, and nine pairs of breeches; so that his hips reach almost up to his arm-pits. This well-clothed vegetable is now fit to see company, or make love. But what a pleasing creature is the object of his appetite! Why she wears a large fur cap with a deal of Flanders lace: and for every pair of breeches he carries, she puts on two petticoats.

"A Dutch lady burns nothing about her phlegmatic admirer but his tobacco. You must know, sir, every women carries in her hand a stove with coals in it, which, when she sits, she snugs under her petticoats; and at this chimney dozing Strephon lights his pipe. I take it that this continual smoking is what gives the man the ruddy healthful complexion he generally wears, by draining his superfluous moisture, while the woman, deprived of this amusement, overflows with such viscidities as tint the complexion, and give that paleness of visage which low fenny grounds and moist air conspire to cause. A Dutch woman and Scotch will bear an opposition. The one is pale and fat, the other lean and ruddy: the one walks as if she were straddling after a go-cart, and the other takes too masculine a stride. I shall not endeavour to deprive either country of its share of beauty; but must say, that of all objects on this earth, an English farmer's daughter is most charming. Every woman there is a complete beauty, while the higher class of women want many of the requisites to make them even tolerable.

"Their pleasures here are very dull though very various. You may smoke, you may doze, you may go to the Italian comedy, as good an amusement as either of the former. This entertainment always brings in Harlequin, who is generally a magician, and in consequence of his diabolical art performs a thousand tricks on the rest of the persons of the drama, who are all fools. I have seen the pit in a roar of laughter at this humour, when with his sword he touches the glass from which another was drinking. 'Twas not his face they laughed at, for that was masked. They must have seen something vastly queer in the wooden sword, that neither I, nor you, sir, were you there, could see.

"In winter, when their canals are frozen, every house is forsaken, and all people are on the ice; sleds drawn by horses, and skating, are at that time the reigning amusements. They have boats here that slide on the ice, and are driven by the winds. When they spread all their sails they go more than a mile and a half a minute, and their motion is so rapid the eye can scarcely accompany them. Their ordinary manner of travelling is very cheap and very convenient: they sail in covered boats drawn by horses; and in these you are sure to meet people of all nations. Here the Dutch slumber, the French chatter, and the English play at cards. Any man who likes company may have them to his taste. For my part I generally detached myself from all society, and was wholly taken up in observing the face of the country. Nothing can equal its beauty; wherever I turn my eye, fine houses, elegant gardens, statues, grottos, vistas, presented themselves; but when you enter their towns you are charmed beyond description. No misery is to be seen here; every one is usefully employed.

"Scotland and this country bear the highest contrast. There hills and rocks intercept every prospect: here 'tis all a continued plain. There you might see a well-dressed duchess issuing from a dirty close; and here a dirty Dutchman inhabiting a palace. The Scotch may be compared to a tulip planted in dung; but I never see a Dutchman in his own house but I think of a magnificent Egyptian temple dedicated to an ox. Physic is by no means here taught so well as in Edinburgh: and in all Leyden there are but four British students, owing to all necessaries being so extremely dear and the professors so very lazy (the chemical professor excepted) that we don't much care to come hither."

When the time came to make the "Inquiry into the State of Polite Learning" Leyden had to suffer. Goldsmith laid about him with no gentle hand. "Holland, at first view, appears to have some pretensions to polite learning. It may be regarded as the great emporium, not less of literature than of every other commodity. Here, though destitute of what may be properly called a language of their own, all the languages are understood, cultivated and spoken. All useful inventions in arts, and new discoveries in science, are published here almost as soon as at the places which first produced them. Its individuals have the same faults, however, with the Germans, of making more use of their memory than their judgment. The chief employment of their literati is to criticise, or answer, the new performances which appear elsewhere.

"A dearth of wit in France or England naturally produces a scarcity in Holland. What Ovid says of Echo may be applied here,

----'nec reticere loquenti, Nec prior ipsa loqui didicit'----

they wait till something new comes out from others; examine its merits and reject it, or make it reverberate through the rest of Europe.

"After all, I know not whether they should be allowed any national character for polite learning. All their taste is derived to them from neighbouring nations, and that in a language not their own. They somewhat resemble their brokers, who trade for immense sums without having any capital."

Goldsmith did not finish there. His observations on the Continent served him, with a frugality that he did not otherwise practise, at least thrice. He used them in the "Inquiry into Polite Learning," he used them in the story of the Philosophic Vagabond in the _Vicar of Wakefield_, and still again in "The Traveller". This is the summary of Holland in that poem:--

To men of other minds my fancy flies,
Embosom'd in the deep where Holland lies.
Methinks her patient sons before me stand,
Where the broad ocean leans against the land,
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride.
Onward, methinks, and diligently slow,
The firm connected bulwark seems to grow;
Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar,
Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore.
While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile,
Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile;
The slow canal, the yellow-blossom'd vale,
The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,
The crowded mart, the cultivated plain,
A new creation rescued from his reign.

Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil
Impels the native to repeated toil,
Industrious habits in each bosom reign,
And industry begets a love of gain.
Hence all the good from opulence that springs,
With all those ills superfluous treasure brings,
Are here display'd. Their much-lov'd wealth imparts
Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts:
But view them closer, craft and fraud appear,
Even liberty itself is barter'd here.
At gold's superior charms all freedom flies,
The needy sell it, and the rich man buys;
A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
Here wretches seek dishonourable graves,
And calmly bent, to servitude conform,
Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.

It was with his good Uncle Contarine's money that Goldsmith travelled to Leyden. The time came to leave, and Oliver was again without resources. He borrowed a sufficient sum from Dr. Ellis, a fellow-countryman living there, and prepared for his departure. But on his way from the doctor's he had to pass a florist's, in whose window there chanced to be exhibited the very variety of flower which Uncle Contarine had so often praised and expressed a desire to possess. Given the man and the moment, what can you expect? Goldsmith, chief among those blessed natures who never interrupt a generous impulse, plunged into the florist's house and despatched a costly bundle of bulbs to Ireland. The next day he left Leyden with a guinea in his pocket, no clothes but those he stood in, and a flute in his hand. For the rest you must see the story of the Philosophic Vagabond.

Evelyn records an amusing experience at Leyden in August, 1641: "I was brought acquainted with a Burgundian Jew, who had married an apostate Kentish woman. I asked him divers questions; he told me, amongst other things, that the World should never end, that our souls transmigrated, and that even those of the most holy persons did penance in the bodies of brutes after death, and so he interpreted the banishment and savage life of Nebuchadnezzar; that all the Jews should rise again, and be led to Jerusalem; that the Romans only were the occasion of our Saviour's death, whom he affirmed (as the Turks do) to be a great prophet, but not the Messiah. He showed me several books of their devotion, which he had translated into English for the instruction of his wife; he told me that when the Messiah came, all the ships, barks, and vessels of Holland should, by the power of certain strange whirlwinds, be loosed from their anchors, and transported in a moment to all the desolate ports and havens throughout the world, wherever the dispersion was, to convey their brethren and tribes to the Holy City; with other such-like stuff. He was a merry drunken fellow, but would by no means handle any money (for something I purchased of him), it being Saturday; but desired me to leave it in the window, meaning to receive it on Sunday morning."

In an old book-shop at Leyden I bought from an odd lot of English books, chiefly minor fiction for travellers, the _Colloquia Peripatetica_ of John Duncan, LL.D., Professor of Hebrew in the New College, Edinburgh. "I'm first a Christian, next a Catholic, then a Calvinist, fourth a Pædo-baptist, and fifth a Presbyterian. I cannot reverse the order," is one of his emphatic utterances. Here are others, not unconnected with the country we are travelling in: "Poor Erasmus truckled all his life for a hat. If he could only have been made a cardinal! You see the longing for it in his very features, and can't help regarding him with mingled respect and pity." Of Thomas à Kempis, the recluse of Deventer: "A fine fellow, but hazy, and weak betimes. He and his school tend (as some one has well said) to make humility and humiliation change places." Finally, of the Bible: "The three best translations of the Bible, in my opinion, are, in order of merit, the English, the Dutch, and Diodati's Italian version. As to Luther, he is admirable in rendering the prophets. He says either just what the prophets _did say_, or that which you see at once they _might have said_."

Leyden has two vast churches, St. Peter's and St. Pancras's. Both are immense and unadorned, I think that St. Pancras's is the lightest church I was ever in. St. Peter's ought to be filled with memorials of the town's illustrious sons, but it has few. As I have said elsewhere, I asked in vain for the grave of Jan Steen, who was buried here.

It was at Leyden that I saw my first Kermis, or fair, seven years ago, and ate my first poffertjes and wafelen. Writing as a foreigner, in no way concerned with the matter, I may express regret that the Kermis is not what it was in Holland. Possibly were one living in Holland, one would at once join the anti-Kermis party; but I hope not. In Amsterdam the anti-Kermis party has succeeded, and though one may still in that city at certain seasons eat wafelen and poffertjes, the old glories have departed, just as they have departed from so many English towns which once broke loose for a few nights every year. Even Barnet Fair is not what it was.

Noise seems to be the principal objection. Personally, I never saw any drunkenness; and there is so little real revelry that one turns one's back on the naphtha lamps in this town and that, in Leyden and the Hoorn, Apeldoorn and Middelburg, with the sad conviction that the times are out of joint, and that Teniers and Ostade and Brouwer, were they reborn to-day, would probably either have to take to painting Christmas supplements or earn their living at a reputable trade. It is not that the Dutch no longer drink, but that they now do it with more privacy.

The travelling temples reserved for the honour of poffertjes and wafelen are the most noticeable features of any Kermis. They are divided, quite like restaurants, into little cubicles for separate parties. Flowers and ferns make them gay; the waiters may even wear evening dress, but this is a refinement which would have annoyed Jan Steen; on the tables is white American cloth; and curtains of coloured material and muslin, with bright ribbons, add to the vivacity of the occasion. To eat poffertjes and wafelen is no light matter: one must regard it as a ritual.

Poffertjes come first--these are little round pancakey blobs, twisted and covered with butter and sugar. Then the wafelen, which are oblong wafers stamped in a mould and also buttered and sugared. You eat twenty-four poffertjes and two wafelen: that is, at the first onset. Afterwards, as many more as you wish. Lager beer is drunk with them. Some prefer Frambozen lemonade.

To eat them is a duty; to see them cooked is a joy. I have watched the cooks almost for hours. The poffertjes are made by hundreds at once, in a tray indented with little hollows over a fire. The cook is continually busy in twisting the little dabs of paste into the hollows and removing those that are ready. The wafelen are baked in iron moulds (there is one in Jan Steen's "Oyster Feast") laid on a rack in the fire. The cook has eight moulds in working order at once. When the eighth is filled from the pail of batter at his side, the first is done; and so on, ceaselessly, all day and half the night, like a natural law.

A woman stands by to spread butter and sugar, and the plate is whisked away in a moment. The Americans boast of their quick lunches; but I am convinced that they borrowed celerity in cooking and serving from some Knickerbocker deviser of poffertjes and wafelen in the early days of New York. I wonder that Washington Irving omitted to say so.

Chapter VIII

Leyden's Painters, a Fanatic and a Hero

Rembrandt of the Rhine--His early life at Leyden--Jan
Steen--Jan van Goyen--Brewer and painter--Pictures for
beer--Jan Steen's grave--His delicacy and charm--His native
refinement--A painter of hands--Jan Steen and Morland--Jan
Steen and Hogarth--The Red Sea--The Flood--Jan of Leyden--The
siege of Münster--Gigantic madness--Gerard Dou--Godfrey
Schalcken--Frans van Mieris--William van Mieris--Gabriel
Metsu--Beckford's satire--Leyden's poor pictures--The siege
of Leyden--Adrian van der Werf.

Leyden was the mother of some precious human clay. Among her sons was the greatest of Dutch painters, Rembrandt van Rijn; the most lovable of them, Jan Steen; and the most patient of them, Gerard Dou.

Of Rembrandt's genius it is late in the day to write, nor have I the power. We have seen certain of his pictures at The Hague; we shall see others at Amsterdam. I can add nothing to what is said in those places, but here, in Leyden (which has ten thousand stuffed birds, and not a single picture by her greatest son), one may dwell upon his early days and think of him wandering as a boy in the surrounding country unconsciously absorbing effects of light and shade.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on July 15, 1606, probably in a house at the corner of the Weddesteg, near the Wittepoort, on the bank of the Rhine. It was the same year that gave England _Macbeth_ and _King Lear_. His father was a miller, his mother the daughter of a Leyden baker: it was destined that the son of these simple folk should be the greatest painter that the north of Europe has produced.

They did not foresee such a fate, but they seem sufficiently to have realised that their son had unusual aptitude for him to be sent to study law at the University. But he meant from the first to paint, and when he should have been studying text-books he was studying nature. The old miller, having a wise head, gave way, and Rembrandt was allowed to enter the studio of Jacob van Swanenburgh. That was probably in 1622, when he was sixteen; in 1624 he knew so much more than Swanenburgh had ever dreamed of that he passed on to Amsterdam, to see what could be learned from Peter Lastman. But Lastman was of little use, and Rembrandt soon returned to Leyden.

There he set up his own studio, painting, however, at his father's house--possibly even in the mill itself--as much as he could; and for seven years he taught younger men at Leyden his secrets. He remained at Leyden until 1631, moving then again to Amsterdam and beginning the greatest period of his life. At Leyden he had painted much and etched much; perhaps the portrait of himself in a steel gorget, at The Hague, is his finest Leyden picture. It was not until 1632, the year in which he married his Saskia, that the first of his most famous works, "The School of Anatomy," was painted. Yet Leyden may consider that it was she that showed the way; she may well be proud.

Rembrandt's later life belongs to Amsterdam; but Leyden had other illustrious sons who were faithful to her to the end. Chief of these was Jan Steen.

Harmens the miller, as we have seen, became the father of a boy named Rembrandt in 1606; it was twenty years later that Steen the brewer rejoiced over the birth of a son called Jan.

Of Jan's childhood we know nothing, but as a young man he was sent by his father to Utrecht to study under Nicholas Knupfer. Then he passed on to Adrian van Ostade and probably to Adrian Brouwer, with both of whom and Frans Hals we saw him carousing, after his wont, in a picture by Brouwer in Baron Steengracht's house at The Hague. Finally he became the pupil of Jan van Goyen, painter of the beautiful "Valkhof at Nymwegen," No. 991 in the Ryks Museum, a picture which always makes me think of Andrew Marvell's poem on the Bermudas. Like many another art pupil, Jan Steen married his master's daughter.

Jan van Goyen, I might add, was another of Leyden's sons. He was born in 1596 and he died at The Hague in 1666, while London was suffering under the Plague.

Jan Steen seems to have intended to make brewing his staff and painting merely his cane; but good nature and a terrible thirst were too much for him. From brewing he descended to keeping a tavern, "in which occupation," to quote Ireland, "he was himself his best customer". After a while, having exhausted his cellar, he took seriously to painting in order to renew it, paying for his liquor with his brush. Thus "for a long time his works were to be found only in the hands of dealers in wine". Who, after this, shall have the hardihood to speak evil of the grape?

Jan is not supposed to have lived at Leyden after his marriage to Margaretta van Goyen, in 1649, until 1669, when his father died. In 1672 he is known to have taken a tavern at Leyden at the Lange Brug.

Of the intervening years little is known. He was probably at Haarlem part of the time and at The Hague part of the time, In 1667 he paid his rent--only twenty-nine florins--with three pictures "painted well as he was able". Margaretta died in 1669--a merry large woman we must suppose her from her appearance in Jan's pictures, and the mother of four or five children who may often be seen in the same scenes. Jan married again in 1673 and died in 1697.

He was buried in St. Peter's Church, Leyden, leaving more than five hundred pictures to his name. The youth who, in the absence of the koster, accompanied me through St. Peter's Church, so far from knowing where Jan Steen was buried, had never even heard his name. (And at the Western Church in Amsterdam, where Rembrandt is said to have been buried, his resting-place cannot be pointed out. But never a Dutch admiral's grave is in doubt.)

For all his roystering and recklessness, for all his drinking and excess, Jan Steen's work is essentially delicate. He painted the sublimated essence of comedy. Teniers, Ostade, Brouwer are coarse and boorish beside him; Metsu and Mieris genteel. Even when he is painting low life Jan Steen is distinguished, a gentleman. And now and then he touches the springs of tears, so exquisite in his sympathetic understanding. He remains the most lovable painter in Holland, and the tenderest--in a country where tenderness is not easily found.

Look, for example, at the two pictures at The Hague which are reproduced opposite pages 74 and 80. The first represents the Steen family. The jolly Jan himself is smoking at the table; the old brewer and the elder Mrs. Steen are in the foreground. I doubt if any picture exists in which the sense of innocent festivity is better expressed. It is all perhaps rather a muddle: Mrs. Steen has some hard work before her if the house is to be restored to a Dutch pitch of cleanliness and order; but how jolly every one is! Jan himself looks just as we should expect.

The triumph of the "Oyster Feast," on the opposite page, seems to me to be the girl kneeling in the corner. Here is drawing indeed. The charge brought by the mysterious painter in Balzac's story against Pourbus, that one was unable to walk behind the figure in his picture, could never hold with Jan Steen. His every figure stands out surrounded by atmosphere, and never more so than in the "Oyster Feast". Again, in the "Cat's Dancing Lesson" (opposite page 158), what drawing there is in the girl playing the pipe, and what life in the whole scene!

It is odd that Jan Steen in Holland, and George Morland in England, both topers, should have had this secret of simple charm so highly developed: one of nature's curious ironies, very confusing to the moralist. In the second Hague picture (opposite page 80) Leyden's genial tosspot has achieved a farther triumph--he has painted one of the most radiantly delicate figures in all art. One must go to Italy and seek among the early Madonnas to find anything to set beside the sweet Wordsworthian character of this little Dutch girl who feeds the animals.

It was Jan Steen's way to scamp much of every picture; but in every picture you will find one figure that could not be excelled. Nothing probably could be more slovenly, more hideously unpainted, than, for example, the bed and the guitar-case in the "Sick Woman"--No. 2246 at the Ryks Museum--opposite page 22. But I doubt if human skill has ever transcended the painting of the woman's face, or the sheer drawing of her. Look at her arm and hand--Jan Steen never went wrong with arms and hands. Look at the hands of the boy playing the pipe in the picture opposite page 74; look at the woman filling a pipe at the table. To-day we are accustomed to pictures containing children: they are as necessary as sunsets to picture buyers: all our figure-painters lavish their talents upon them; but who had ever troubled to paint a real peasant child before Jan Steen? It was this rough toper that showed the way, and no one since has ever excelled him.

Parallels have been drawn between Jan Steen and Hogarth, and there are critics who would make Jan a moralist too. But I do not see how we can compare them. Steen did what Hogarth could not, Hogarth did what Steen would not. Hogarth is rarely charming, Steen is rarely otherwise. It is not Hogarth with whom I should associate Jan, but Burns. He is the Dutch Burns--in colour.

I wish we had more facts concerning him, for he must have been a great man and humorist. The story is told of Hogarth that on being commissioned to paint a scriptural picture of the Red Sea for a too parsimonious patron who had beaten him down and down, he rebuked him for his meanness by producing a canvas entirely covered with red paint. "But what is this?" the patron asked. "The Red Sea--surely." "Where then are the Israelites?" "They have all crossed over." "And Pharaoh's hosts?" "They are all drowned." The story is perhaps an invention; but a somewhat similar joke is credited to Jan Steen. His commission was the Flood, and his picture when finished consisted of a sheet of water with a Dutch cheese in the midst bearing the arms of Leyden. The cheese and the arms, he pointed out, proved that people had been on the earth; as for Noah and the ark, they were out of the picture.

Jan Steen's picture of "A Quaker's Funeral" I have not seen, but according to Pilkington it is impossible to behold it and refrain from laughter. The subject does not strike one as being in itself mirthful.

A century earlier Leyden had produced another Jan, separated from Jan Steen by a difference wide asunder as the poles. Yet a very wonderful man in his brief season, standing high among the world's great madmen. I mean Jan Bockelson, the Anabaptist, known as Jan of Leyden, who, beginning as pure enthusiast, succumbed, as so many a leader of women has done, to the intoxication of authority, and became the slave of grandiose ambition and excesses. Every country has had its mock Messiahs: they rise periodically in England, not less at the present day than in the darker ages (hysteria being more powerful than light); yet the history of none of these spiritual monarchs can compare with that of the tailor's son of Leyden.

The story is told in many places, but nowhere with such dramatic picturesqueness as by Professor Karl Pearson in his _Ethic of Freethought_. "As the illegitimate son of a tailor in Leyden," says Professor Pearson--Jan's mother was the maid of his father's wife--"his early life was probably a harsh and bitter one. Very young he wandered from home, impressed with the miseries of his class and with a general feeling of much injustice in the world. Four years he spent in England seeing the poor driven off the land by the sheep; then we find him in Flanders, married, but still in vague search of the Eldorado; again roaming, he visits Lisbon and Lübeck as a sailor, ever seeking and inquiring. Suddenly a new light bursts upon him in the teaching of Melchior Hofmann [the Anabaptist]; he fills himself with dreams of a glorious kingdom on earth, the rule of justice and of love. Still a little while and the prophet Mathys crosses his path, and tells him of the New Sion and the extermination of the godless."

Mathys, or Jan Mathiesen, was a baker of Haarlem, who, constituted an Anabaptist bishop, was preaching the new gospel through the Netherlands and gathering recruits to the community of God's saints which had been established at Münster. "Full of hope for the future," says Professor Pearson, "Jan sets out for Münster to join the saints. Still young, handsome, imbued with a fiery enthusiasm, actor by nature and even by choice, he has no small influence on the spread of Anabaptism in that city. The youth of twenty-three expounds to the followers of Rottmann the beauties of his ideal kingdom of the good and the true. With his whole soul he preaches to them the redemption of the oppressed, the destruction of tyranny, the community of goods, and the rule of justice and brotherly love. Women and maidens slip away to the secret gatherings of the youthful enthusiast; the glowing young prophet of Leyden becomes the centre of interest in Münster. Dangerous, very dangerous ground, when the pure of heart are not around him; when the spirit 'chosen by God' is to proclaim itself free of the flesh.

"The world has judged Jan harshly, condemned him to endless execration. It were better to have cursed the generations of oppression, the flood of persecution, which forced the toiler to revolt, the Anabaptists to madness. Under other circumstances the noble enthusiasm, with other surroundings the strong will, of Jan of Leyden might have left a different mark on the page of history. Dragged down in this whirlpool of fanaticism, sensuality, and despair, we can only look upon him as a factor of the historic judgment, a necessary actor in that tragedy of Münster, which forms one of the most solemn chapters of the Greater Bible."

Gradually Jan rose to be head of the saints, Mathiesen having been killed, and none other displaying so much strength of purpose or magnetic enthusiasm. And here his mind gave way. Like so many absolute rulers before and since, he could not resist the ecstacies of supremacy. To resume Professor Pearson's narrative: "The sovereign of Sion--although 'since the flesh is dead, gold to him is but as dung'--yet thinks fit to appear in all the pomp of earthly majesty. He appoints a court, of which Knipperdollinch is chancellor, and wherein there are many officers from chamberlain to cook. He forms a body-guard, whose members are dressed in silk. Two pages wait upon the king, one of whom is a _son of his grace the bishop of Münster_. The great officers of state are somewhat wondrously attired, one breech red, the other grey, and on the sleeves of their coats are embroidered the arms of Sion--the earth-sphere pierced by two crossed swords, a sign of universal sway and its instruments--while a golden finger-ring is token of their authority in Sion. The king himself is magnificently arrayed in gold and purple, and as insignia of his office, he causes sceptre and spurs of gold to be made. Gold ducats are melted down to form crowns for the queen and himself; and lastly a golden globe pierced by two swords and surmounted by a cross with the words, 'A King of Righteousness o'er all' is borne before him. The attendants of the Chancellor Knipperdollinch are dressed in red with the crest, a hand raising aloft the sword of justice. Nay, even the queen and the fourteen queenlets must have a separate court and brilliant uniforms.

"Thrice a week the king goes in glorious array to the market-place accompanied by his body-guards and officers of state, while behind ride the fifteen queens. On the market-place stands a magnificent throne with silken cushions and canopy, whereon the tailor-monarch takes his seat, and alongside him sits his chief queen. Knipperdollinch sits at his feet. A page on his left bears the book of the law, the Old Testament; another on his right an unsheathed sword. The book denotes that he sits on the throne of David; the sword that he is the king of the just, who is appointed to exterminate all unrighteousness. Bannock-Bernt is court-chaplain, and preaches in the market-place before the king. The sermon over, justice is administered, often of the most terrible kind; and then in like state the king and his court return home. On the streets he is greeted with cries of: 'Hail in the name of the Lord. God be praised!'"

Meanwhile underneath all this riot of splendour and power and sensuality, the pangs of starvation were beginning to be felt. For the army of the bishop of Münster was outside the city and the siege was very studiously maintained. The privations became more and more terrible, and more and more terrible the means of allaying them. The bodies of citizens that had died were eaten; and then men and women and children were killed in order that they might be eaten too. Under such conditions, is it any wonder that Münster became a city of the mad, mad beyond the sane man's wildest dreams of excess?

A few of the least demented of Jan's followers at length determined that the tragedy must cease, and the city was delivered into the bishop's hands. "What judgment," writes Professor Pearson, "his grace the bishop thinks fit to pass on the leaders of Sion at least deserves record. Rottmann has fallen by St. Martin's Church, fighting sword in hand, but Jan of Leyden and Knipperdollinch are brought prisoners before this shepherd of the folk. Scoffingly he asks Jan: 'Art thou a king?' Simple, yet endlessly deep the reply: 'Art thou a bishop?' Both alike false to their callings--as father of men and shepherd of souls. Yet the one cold, self-seeking sceptic, the other ignorant, passionate, fanatic idealist. 'Why hast thou destroyed the town and _my_ folk?' 'Priest, I have not destroyed one little maid of _thine_. Thou hast again thy town, and I can repay thee a hundredfold.' The bishop demands with much curiosity how this miserable captive can possibly repay him. 'I know we must die, and die terribly, yet before we die, shut us up in an iron cage, and send us round through the land, charge the curious folk a few pence to see us, and thou wilt soon gather together all thy heart's desire.' The jest is grim, but the king of Sion has the advantage of his grace the bishop. Then follows torture, but there is little to extract, for the king still holds himself an instrument sent by God--though it were for the punishment of the world. Sentence is read on these men--placed in an iron cage they shall be shown round the bishop's diocese, a terrible warning to his subjects, and then brought back to Münster; there with glowing pincers their flesh shall be torn from the bones, till the death-stroke be given with red-hot dagger in throat and heart. For the rest let the mangled remains be placed in iron cages swung from the tower of St. Lambert's Church.

"On the 26th of January, 1536, Jan Bockelson and Knipperdollinch meet their fate. A high scaffolding is erected in the market-place, and before it a lofty throne for his grace the bishop, that he may glut his vengeance to the full. Let the rest pass in silence. The most reliable authorities tell us that the Anabaptists remained calm and firm to the last. 'Art thou a king?' 'Art thou a bishop?' The iron cages still hang on the church tower at Münster; placed as a warning, they have become a show; perhaps some day they will be treasured as weird mentors of the truth which the world has yet to learn from the story of the Kingdom of God in Münster."

A living German artist of great power, named Joseph Sattler, too much of whose time has recently been given to designing book-plates, produced some few years ago an extraordinary illustrated history of the Anabaptists in Münster. Many artists have essayed to portray madness, but I know of no work more terrible than his.

We have travelled far from Leyden's peaceful studios. It is time to look at the work of Gerard Dou. Rembrandt we have seen was the son of a miller, Jan Steen of a brewer; the elder Dou was a glazier. His son Gerard was born in Leyden in 1613. The father was so far interested in the boy's gifts that he apprenticed him to an engraver when he was nine. At the age of eleven he passed to the studio of a painter on glass, and on St. Valentine's day, 1628, he became a pupil of Rembrandt. From Rembrandt, however, he seems to have learned only the charm of contrasts of light and shade. None of the great rugged strength of the master is to be seen in his minute and patient work, in which the genius of taking pains is always apparent. "He would frequently," says Ireland, "paint six or seven days on a hand, and, still more wonderful, twice the time on the handle of a broom.... The minuteness of his performance so affected his sight that he wore spectacles at the age of thirty."

Gerard Dou's success was not only artistic; it was also financial. Rembrandt's prices did not compare with those of his pupil, whose art coming more within the sympathetic range and understanding of the ordinary man naturally was more sought after than the Titanic and less comfortable canvasses of the greater craftsman.

Dou did exceedingly well, one of his patrons even paying him a yearly honorarium of a thousand florins for the privilege of having the refusal of each new picture. "The Poulterer's Shop" at our National Gallery is a perfect example of his fastidious minuteness and charm. But he painted pictures also with a tenderer brush. I give on the opposite page a reproduction of the most charming picture by Gerard Dou that I know--"The Young Housekeeper" at The Hague. This is a very miracle of painting in every inch, and yet the pains that have been expended upon the cabbage and the fish are not for a moment disproportionate: the cabbage and the fish, for all their finish, remain subordinate and appropriate details. The picture is the picture of the mother and the children. "The Night School"--No. 795 in the Ryks Museum at Amsterdam--is, I believe, more generally admired, but "The Young Housekeeper" is the better. "The Night School" might be described as the work of a pocket Rembrandt; "The Young Housekeeper" is the work of an artist of rare individuality and sympathy. At the Wallace Collection may be seen a hermit by Dou quite in his best nocturnal manner.

Gerard Dou died at Leyden, where he had spent nearly all his quiet life, in 1676. He is buried at St. Peter's, but his grave does not seem to be known there.

Dou had many imitators, some of whom studied under him. One of the chief was Godfried Schalcken of Dort, whose picture of an "Old Woman Scouring a Pan" may be seen in the National Gallery, while the Wallace Collection has several examples of his skill. Schalcken seems to have been a man of great brusquerie, if two stories told by Ireland of his sojourn in England are true. William III., for example, when sitting for his picture, with a candle in his hand, was suffered by Schalcken to burn his fingers. "One is at a loss," says Ireland, "to determine which was most to blame, the monarch for want of feeling, or the painter of politeness. The following circumstance, however, will place the deficiency of the latter beyond controversy. A lady sitting for her portrait, who was more admired for a beautiful hand than a handsome face, after the head was finished, asked him if she should take off her glove, that he might insert the hand in the picture, to which he replied, he always painted the hands from those of his valet." The most attractive picture by Schalcken that I have seen is a girl sewing by candle light, in the Wallace Collection. It pairs off with the charming little Gerard Dou at the Ryks--No. 796.

Dou said that the "Prince of his pupils" was Frans van Mieris of Delft, who combined the manner and predilections of his master with those of Terburg. He was very popular with collectors, but I do not experience any great joy in the presence of his work, which, with all its miraculous deftness, is yet lacking in personal feeling. Mieris, says Ireland, "was frequently paid a ducat per hour for his works. His intimacy and friendship for Jan Steen, that excellent painter and bon vivant, seems to have led him into much inconvenience. After a night's debauch, quitting Jan Steen, he fell into a common drain; whence he was extricated by a poor cobbler and his wife, and, treated by them with much kindness, he repaid the obligation by presenting them with a small picture, which, by his recommendation, was sold for a considerable sum."

The amazingly minute picture of "The Poulterer's Shop" which hangs in the National Gallery as a pendant to Dou's work with the same title, is by William van Mieris, the son of Dou's favourite pupil. He also was born at Leyden, that teeming mother of painters. Frans van Mieris, his father, died at Leyden in 1681; William died at Leyden in 1747.

Above the work of Frans van Mieris I would put that of Gabriel Metsu, another of Dou's pupils, and also a son of Leyden, where he was born in 1630. Upon Metsu's work Terburg, however, exercised more influence than did Gerard Dou. "The Music Lesson" and "The Duet" at the National Gallery are good examples of his pleasant painting. Even better is his work at the Wallace Collection. He died in 1667 in Amsterdam, where one of his best pictures "The Breakfast"--No. 1553 at the Ryks--may be seen. There are many fine examples at the Louvre. He was always graceful, always charming, with a favourite model--perhaps his wife--the pleasant plump woman who occurs again and again in his work. She is in "The Breakfast" (see the opposite page).

Mention of Gerard Dou and his pupils reminds me of a little-known satire on art-criticism written by "Vathek" Beckford. _Biographical Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters_ it is called, among the painters being Sucrewasser of Vienna, and Watersouchy of Amsterdam. It is Watersouchy who concerns us, for he was a Dutch figure painter who carried the art of detail farther than it had been carried before. I quote a little from Beckford's account of this genius, since it helps to bring back a day when the one thing most desired by the English collector was a Dutch picture--still life, boors, cows, ruins, or domestic interior--no matter what subject or how mechanically painted so long as it was done minutely enough.

"Whilst he remained at Amsterdam, young Watersouchy was continually improving, and arrived to such perfection in copying point lace, that Mierhop entreated his father to cultivate these talents, and to place his son under the patronage of Gerard Dow, ever renowned for the exquisite finish of his pieces. Old Watersouchy stared at the proposal, and solemnly asked his wife, to whose opinion he always paid a deference, whether painting was a genteel profession for their son. Mierhop, who overheard their conversation, smiled disdainfully at the question, and Madam Watersouchy answered, that she believed it was one of your liberal arts. In few words, the father was persuaded, and Gerard Dow, then resident at Leyden, prevailed upon to receive the son as a disciple.

"Our young artist had no sooner his foot within his master's apartment, than he found every object in harmony with his own disposition. The colours finely ground, and ranged in the neatest boxes, the pencils so delicate as to be almost imperceptible, the varnish in elegant phials, the easel just where it ought to be, filled him with agreeable sensations, and exalted ideas of his master's merit. Gerard Dow on his side was equally pleased, when he saw him moving about with all due circumspection, and noticing his little prettinesses at every step. He therefore began his pupil's initiation with great alacrity, first teaching him cautiously to open the cabinet door, lest any particles of dust should be dislodged and fix upon his canvas, and advising him never to take up his pencil without sitting motionless a few minutes, till every mote casually floating in the air should be settled. Such instructions were not thrown away upon Watersouchy: he treasured them up, and refined, if possible, upon such refinements."

In course of time Watersouchy gained the patronage of a rich but frugal banker named Baise-la-Main, who seeing his value, arranged for the painter to occupy a room in his house, "Nobody," Beckford continues, "but the master of the house was allowed to enter this sanctuary. Here our artist remained six weeks in grinding his colours, composing an admirable varnish, and preparing his canvass, for a performance he intended as his _chef d'oeuvre._ A fortnight more passed before he decided upon a subject. At last he determined to commemorate the opulence of Monsieur Baise-la-Main, by a perspective of his counting-house. He chose an interesting moment, when heaps of gold lay glittering on the counter, and citizens of distinction were soliciting a secure repository for their plate and jewels. A Muscovite wrapped in fur, and an Italian glistening in brocade, occupied the foreground. The eye glancing over these figures highly finished, was directed through the windows of the shop into the area in front of the cathedral; of which, however, nothing was discovered, except two sheds before its entrance, where several barbers were represented at their different occupations. An effect of sunshine upon the counter discovered every coin that was scattered upon its surface. On these the painter had bestowed such intense labour, that their very legends were distinguishable.

"It would be in vain to attempt conveying, by words, an idea adequate to this _chef d'oeuvre_, which must have been seen to have been duly admired. In three months it was far advanced; during which time our artist employed his leisure hours in practising jigs and minuets on the violin, and writing the first chapter of Genesis on a watchpaper, which he adorned with a miniature of Adam and Eve, so exquisitely finished, that every ligament in their fig-leaves was visible. This little _jeu d'esprit_ he presented to Madam Merian."

Leyden's earliest painter was Lucas Jacobz, known as Lucas van Leyden, who was born in 1494. He painted in oil, in distemper and on glass; he took his subjects from nature and from scripture; he engraved better than he painted; and he was the friend of Dürer. Leyden possesses his triptych, "The Last Judgment," which to me is interesting rather as a piece of pioneering than as a work apart. After settling for a while at Middelburg and Antwerp, he returned to Leyden, where he died in 1533.

In spite of her record as the mother of great painters, Leyden treats pictures with some indifference. The Municipal Museum has little that is of value. Of most interest perhaps is the Peter van Veen, opposite "The Last Judgment," representing a scene in the siege of Leyden by the Spaniards under Valdez in 1574, which has a companion upstairs by Van Bree, depicting the Burgomaster's heroic feat of opportunism in the same period of stress.

Adrian Van der Werf was this Burgomaster's name (his monument stands in the Van der Werf park), and nothing but his courage and address at a critical moment saved the city. Motley tells the story in a fine passage. "Meantime, the besieged city was at its last gasp. The burghers had been in a state of uncertainty for many days; being aware that the fleet had set forth for their relief, but knowing full well the thousand obstacles which it had to surmount. They had guessed its progress by the illumination from the blazing villages; they had heard its salvos of artillery on its arrival at North Aa; but since then, all had been dark and mournful again, hope and fear, in sickening alternation, distracting every breast. They knew that the wind was unfavourable, and, at the dawn of each day, every eye was turned wistfully to the vanes of the steeples. So long as the easterly breeze prevailed, they felt, as they anxiously stood on towers and house-tops that they must look in vain for the welcome ocean. Yet, while thus patiently waiting, they were literally starving; for even the misery endured at Harlem had not reached that depth and intensity of agony to which Leyden was now reduced. Bread, maltcake, horse-flesh, had entirely disappeared; dogs, cats, rats, and other vermin were esteemed luxuries. A small number of cows, kept as long as possible, for their milk, still remained; but a few were killed from day to day, and distributed in minute proportions, hardly sufficient to support life among the famishing population. Starving wretches swarmed daily around the shambles where these cattle were slaughtered, contending for any morsel which might fall, and lapping eagerly the blood as it ran along the pavement; while the hides, chopped and boiled, were greedily devoured.

"Women and children, all day long, were seen searching gutters and dung hills for morsels of food, which they disputed fiercely with the famishing dogs. The green leaves were stripped from the trees, every living herb was converted into human food, but these expedients could not avert starvation. The daily mortality was frightful,--infants starved to death on the maternal breasts, which famine had parched and withered; mothers dropped dead in the streets, with their dead children in their arms.

"In many a house the watchmen, in their rounds, found a whole family of corpses, father, mother and children, side by side; for a disorder called the plague, naturally engendered of hardship and famine, now came, as if in kindness, to abridge the agony of the people. The pestilence stalked at noonday through the city, and the doomed inhabitants fell like grass beneath it scythe. From six thousand to eight thousand human beings sank before this scourge alone, yet the people resolutely held out--women and men mutually encouraging each other to resist the entrance of their foreign foe--an evil more horrible than pest or famine. [3]

"The missives from Valdez, who saw more vividly than the besieged could do, the uncertainty of his own position, now poured daily into the city, the enemy becoming more prodigal of his vows, as he felt that the ocean might yet save the victims from his grasp. The inhabitants, in their ignorance, had gradually abandoned their hopes of relief, but they spurned the summons to surrender. Leyden was sublime in its despair. A few murmurs were, however, occasionally heard at the steadfastness of the magistrates, and a dead body was placed at the door of the burgomaster, as a silent witness against his inflexibility. A party of the more faint-hearted even assailed the heroic Adrian Van der Werf with threats and reproaches as he passed through the streets.

"A crowd had gathered around him, as he reached a triangular place in the centre of the town, into which many of the principal streets emptied themselves, and upon one side of which stood the church of St. Pancras, with its high brick tower surmounted by two pointed turrets, and with two ancient lime trees at its entrance. There stood the burgomaster, a tall, haggard, imposing figure, with dark visage, and a tranquil but commanding eye. He waved his broad-leaved felt hat for silence, and then exclaimed, in language which has been almost literally preserved, 'What would ye, my friends? Why do ye murmur that we do not break our vows and surrender our city to the Spaniards?--a fate more horrible than the agony which she now endures. I tell you I have made an oath to hold this city, and may God give me strength to keep my oath! I can die but once; whether by your hands, the enemy's, or by the hand of God. My own fate is indifferent to me, not so that of the city intrusted to my care. I know that we shall starve if not soon relieved; but starvation is preferable to the dishonoured death which is the only alternative. Your menaces move me not; my life is at your disposal; here is my sword, plunge it into my breast, and divide my flesh among you. Take my body to appease your hunger, but expect no surrender, so long as I remain alive.'"

Leyden was at last relieved by William of Orange, who from his sick-bed had arranged for the piercing of the dykes and letting in enough water to swim his ships and rout the Spaniards.

Out of tribulation comes good. For their constancy and endurance in the siege the Prince offered the people of Leyden one of two benefits--exemption from taxes or the establishment of a University. They took the University.

Chapter IX

Haarlem

Tulip culture--Early speculation--The song of the tulip--Dutch
gardening new and old--A horticultural pilgrimage--The Haarlem
dunes--Gardens without secrets--Zaandvoort--_Through
Noord-Holland_ and its charms--The church of
St. Bavo--Whitewash _v_. Mystery--The true father of the
Reformation--Printing paves the way--The Hout--Laocoön and his
sons--The siege of Haarlem--Dutch fortitude--The real Dutch
courage--The implacable Alva--Broken promises--A tonic for
Philip--The women of Haarlem--A pledge to mothers--The great
organ--Three curious inhabitants--The Teyler Museum--Frans
Hals--A king of abundance--Regent pieces--The secondary
pictures in the Museum--Dirck Hals--Van der Helst--Adrian
Brouwer--Nicolas Berchem--Ruisdael--The lost mastery--Echoes
of the past.

Haarlem being the capital of the tulip country, the time to visit it is the spring. To travel from Leyden to Haarlem by rail in April is to pass through floods of colour, reaching their finest quality about Hillegom. The beds are too formal, too exactly parallel, to be beautiful, except as sheets of scarlet or yellow; for careless beauty one must look to the heaps of blossoms piled up in the corners (later to be used on the beds as a fertiliser), which are always beautiful, and doubly so when reflected in a canal. From a balloon, in the flowering season, the tulip gardens must look like patchwork quilts.

Tulip Sunday, which represents the height of the season (corresponding to Chestnut Sunday at Bushey Park) is about the third Sunday in April. One should be in Holland then. It is no country for hot weather: it has no shade, the trains become unbearable, and the canals are very unpleasant. But in spring it is always fresh.

Tulip cultivation is now a steady humdrum business, very different from the early days of the fashion for the flower, in the seventeenth century, when speculators lost their heads over bulbs as thoroughly as over South-Sea stock in the great Bubble period. Thousands of florins were given for a single bulb. The bulb, however, did not always change hands, often serving merely as a gambling basis; it even may not have existed at all. Among genuine connoisseurs genuine sales would of course be made, and it is recorded that a "Semper Augustus" bulb was once bought for 13,000 florins. At last the Government interfered; gambling was put down; and "Semper Augustus" fell to fifty florins.

It was to Haarlem, it will be remembered, that the fair Frisian travelled with Cornelius van Baerle's solitary flower in _La Tulipe Noire_, and won the prize of 100,000 florins offered for a blossom of pure nigritude by the Horticultural Society of Haarlem. Hence the addition of the Tulipa Nigra Rosa Baerleensis to the list of desirable bulbs. Dumas puts into the mouth of Cornelius a very charming song of the tulip:--

Nous sommes les filles du feu secret,
Du feu qui circule dans les veines de la terre;
Nous sommes les filles de l'aurore et de la rosée,
Nous sommes les filles de l'air,
Nous sommes les filles de l'eau;
Mais nous sommes avant tout les filles du ciel.

The Dutch are now wholly practical. Their reputation as gardeners has become a commercial one, resting upon the fortunate discovery that the tulip and the hyacinth thrive in the sandy soil about Haarlem. For flowers as flowers they seem to me to care little or nothing. Their cottages have no pretty confusion of blossoms as in our villages. You never see the cottager at work among his roses; once his necessary labours are over, he smokes and talks to his neighbours: to grow flowers for æsthetic reasons were too ornamental, too unproductive a hobby. Æsthetically the Dutch are dead, or are alive only in the matter of green paint, which they use with such charming effect on their houses, their mills and their boats. What is pretty is old--as indeed is the case in our own country, if we except gardens. Modern Dutch architecture is without attraction, modern Delft porcelain a thing to cry over.

If any one would know how an old formal Dutch garden looked, there is a model one at the back of the Ryks Museum in Amsterdam. But the art is no more practised. A few circular beds in the lawn, surrounded by high wire netting--that is for the most part the modern notion of gardening. In an interesting report of a visit paid to the Netherlands and France in 1817 by the secretary of the Caledonia Horticultural Society and some congenial companions, may be read excellent descriptions of old Dutch gardening, which even then was a thing of the past. Here is the account of a typical formal garden, near Utrecht: "The large divisions of the garden are made by tall and thick hedges of beech, hornbeam, and oak, variously shaped, having been tied to frames and thus trained, with the aid of the shears, to the desired form. The smaller divisions are made by hedges of yew and box, which in thickness and density resemble walls of brick. Grottoes and fountains are some of the principal ornaments. The grottoes are adorned with masses of calcareous stuff, corals and shells, some of them apparently from the East Indies, others natives of our own seas. The principal grotto is large, and studded with thousands of crystals and shells. We were told that its construction was the labour of twelve years. The fountains are of various devices, and though old, some of them were still capable of being put in action. Frogs and lizards placed at the edgings of the walks, and spouting water to the risk of passengers, were not quite so agreeable; and other figures were still in worse taste.

"There is a long berceau walk of beech, with numerous windows or openings in the leafy side wall, and many statues and busts, chiefly of Italian marble, some of them of exquisite workmanship. Several large urns and vases certainly do honour to the sculptor. The subjects of the bas-relief ornaments are the histories of Saul and David, and of Esther and Ahasuerus."

I saw no old Dutch garden in Holland which seemed to me so attractive as that at Levens in Westmorland.

It is important at Haarlem to take a drive over the dunes--the billowy, grassy sand hills which stretch between the city and the sea. If it is in April one can begin the drive by passing among every variety of tulip and hyacinth, through air made sweet and heavy by these flowers. Just outside Haarlem the road passes the tiniest deer park that ever I saw--with a great house, great trees, a lawn and a handful of deer all packed as close as they can be. Now and then one sees a stork's nest high on a pole before a house.

On leaving the green and luxuriant flat country a climbing pavé road winds in and out among the pines on the edge of the dunes; past little villas, belonging chiefly to Amsterdam business men, each surrounded by a naked garden with the merest suggestion of a boundary. For the Dutch do not like walls or hedges. This level open land having no natural secrecy, it seems as if its inhabitants had decided there should be no artificial secrecy either. When they sit in their gardens they like to be seen. An Englishman's first care when he plans a country estate is not to be overlooked; a Dutchman would cut down every tree that intervened between his garden chair and the high road.

Fun has often been made of the names which the Dutch merchants give to their country houses, but they seem to me often to be chosen with more thought than those of similar villas in our country. Here are a few specimens: Buiten Gedachten (Beyond Expectation), Ons Genoegen (Our Contentment), Lust en Rust (Pleasure and Rest), Niet Zoo Quaalyk (Not so Bad), Myn Genegenhied is Voldaan (My Desire is Satisfied), Mijn Lust en Leven (My Pleasure and Life), Vriendschap en Gezelschap (Friendship and Sociability), Vreugde bij Vrede (Joy with Peace), Groot Genoeg (Large Enough), Buiten Zorg (Without Care). These names at any rate convey sentiments which we may take to express their owners' true feelings in their owners' own language; and as such I prefer them to the "Chatsworths" and "Belle-vues," "Cedars" and "Towers," with which the suburbs of London teem. In a small inland street in Brighton the other day I noticed a "Wave Crest".

The dunes extend for miles: an empty wilderness of sand with the grey North Sea beyond. From the high points one sees inland not only Haarlem, just below, but the domes and spires of Amsterdam beyond.

One may return to Haarlem by way of Bloemendaal, a green valley with shady walks and a good hotel; or extend the drive to Haarlem's watering-place Zaandvoort, which otherwise can be gained by steam-tram, and where, says the author of _Through Noord-Holland_, "the billowing is strong and strengthening". The same author tells us also that "the ponnies and asses have a separated standing-place, whilst severe stipulations warrant the bathers for trouble of the animals and their driver".

Of this book I ought perhaps to say more, for I am greatly indebted to it. Most of the larger towns of Holland have guides, and for the most part they are written in good English, albeit of Dutch extraction; but _Through Noord-Holland_ is an agreeable exception in that it covers all the ground between Amsterdam and the Helder, and is constructed in a peculiar sport of Babel. In Dutch it is I have no doubt an ordinary guide-book; in English it is something far more precious. The following extract from the preface to the second edition ought to be quoted before I borrow further from its pages:--

Being completed with the necessary alterations and corrections I send it into the world for the second time. As it will be published besides in Dutch also in French and English, the aim of the edition will surely be favoured, and our poor misappreciated country that so often is regarded with contempt by our countrymen as well as by foreigners will soon be an attraction for tourists. For were not it those large extensive quiet heatheries those rustling green woods and those quiet low meadows which inspired our great painters to bring their fascinating landscapes on the cloth? Had not that bloomy sky and that sunny mysterious light, those soft green meadows with their multi-coloured flowers, through which the river is streaming as a silver band, had not all this a quieting influence to the agitated mind of many of us, did not it give the quiet rest and did not it whisper to you; here ... here is it good? And for this our country we want to be a reliable guide by the directions of which we can savely start.

With Zaandvoort we may associate Dirck van Santvoort who painted the portrait of the curious girl--No. 2133 at the Ryks Museum--reproduced opposite page 236. Of the painter very little is known. He belongs to the great period, flourishing in the middle of the seventeenth century--and that is all. But he had a very cunning hand and an interesting mind, as the few pictures to his name attest. In the same room at the Ryks Museum where the portrait hangs is a large group of ladies and gentlemen, all wearing some of the lace which he dearly loved to paint. And in one of the recesses of the Gallery of Honour is a quaint little lady from his delicate brush--No. 2131--well worth study.

Haarlem's great church, which is dedicated to St. Bavo, is one of the finest in Holland. All that is needed to make it perfect is an infusion of that warmth and colour which once it possessed but of which so few traces have been allowed to remain. The Dutch Protestants, as I remarked at Utrecht, have shown singular efficiency in denuding religion of its external graces and charm. There is no church so beautiful but they would reduce it to bleak and arid cheerlessness. Place even the cathedral of Chartres in a Dutch market-place, and it would be a whitewashed desert in a week, while little shops and houses would be built against its sacred walls. There is hardly a great church in Holland but has some secular domicile clinging like a barnacle to its sides.

The attitude of the Dutch to their churches is in fact very much that of Quakers to their meeting-houses--even to the retention of hats. But whereas it is reasonable for a Quaker, having made for himself as plain a rectangular building as he can, to attach no sanctity to it, there is an incongruity when the same attitude is maintained amid beautiful Gothic arches. The result is that Dutch churches are more than chilling. In the simplest English village church one receives some impression of the friendliness of religion; but in Holland--of course I speak as a stranger and a foreigner--religion seems to be a cold if not a repellent thing.

One result is that on looking back over one's travels through Holland it is almost impossible to disentangle in the memory one whitewashed church from another. They have a common monotony of internal aridity: one distinguishes them, if at all, by some accidental possession--Gouda, for example, by its stained glass; Haarlem by its organ, and the swinging ships; Delft by the tomb of William the Silent; Utrecht by the startling absence of an entrance fee.

At Haarlem, as it happens, one is peculiarly able to study cause and effect in this matter of Protestant bleakness, since there stands before the door of this wonderful church, once a Roman Catholic temple, drenched, I doubt not, in mystery and colour, a certain significant statue.

To Erasmus of Rotterdam is generally given the parentage of the Reformation. Whatever his motives, Erasmus stands as the forerunner of Luther. But Erasmus had his forerunner too, the discoverer of printing. For had not a means of rapidly multiplying and cheapening books been devised, the people, who were after all the back-bone of the Reformation, would never have had the opportunity of themselves reading the Bible--either the Vulgate or Erasmus's New Testament--and thus seeing for themselves how wide was the gulf fixed between Christ and the Christians. It was the discovery of this discrepancy which prepared them to stand by the reformers, and, by supporting them and urging them on, assist them to victory.

Stimulated by the desire to be level with Rome for his own early fetters, and desiring also an antagonist worthy of his satirical powers, Erasmus (or so I think) hit independently upon the need for a revised Bible. But Luther to a large extent was the outcome of his times and of popular feeling. A spokesman was needed, and Luther stepped forward. The inventor of printing made the way possible; Erasmus showed the way; Luther took it.

Now the honour of inventing printing lies between two claimants, Laurens Janszoon Coster, of Haarlem (the original of this statue) and Gutenburg of Mayence. The Dutch like to think that Coster was the man, and that his secret was sold to Gutenburg by his servant Faust. Be that as it may--and the weight of evidence is in favour of Gutenburg--it is interesting as one stands by the statue of Coster under the shadow of Haarlem's great church to think that this was perhaps the true parent of that great upheaval, the true pavior of the way.

Whatever Coster's claim to priority may be, he certainly was a printer, and it is only fitting that Haarlem should possess so fine a library of early books and MSS. as it does.

Another monument to Coster is to be seen in the Hout, a wood of which Haarlem is very proud. It has a fine avenue called the Spanjaards Laan, and is a very pleasant shady place in summer, hardly inferior to the Bosch at The Hague. "The delightful walks of the Hout," says the author of _Through Noord-Holland_, "and the caressing song of the nightingale and other birds, do not only invite the Haarlemmers to it, but the citizens of the neighbouring towns as well."

On the border of the wood is a pavilion which holds the collections of Colonial curiosities. In front of the pavilion (I quote again from _Through Noord-Holland_, which is invaluable), "stands a casting of Laskson and his sons to a knot, which has been manufactured in the last centuries before Christ. The original has been digged up at Rome in 1500." Shade of Lessing!

The cannon-ball embedded in the wall of the church, which the sacristan shows with so much interest, recalls Haarlem's great siege in 1572--a siege notable in the history of warfare for the courage and endurance of the townspeople against terrible odds. The story is worth telling in full, but I have not space and Motley is very accessible. But I sketch, with his assistance, its salient features.

The attack began in mid-winter, when Haarlem Mere, a great lake in the east which has since been drained and poldered, was frozen over. For some time a dense fog covered it, enabling loads of provisions and arms to be safely conveyed into the city.

Don Frederic, the son of the Duke of Alva, who commanded the Spanish, began with a success that augured well, a force of 4,000 men which marched from Leyden under De la Marck being completely routed. Among the captives taken by the Spaniards, says Motley, was "a gallant officer, Baptist Van Trier, for whom De la Marck in vain offered two thousand crowns and nineteen Spanish prisoners. The proposition was refused with contempt. Van Trier was hanged upon the gallows by one leg until he was dead, in return for which barbarity the nineteen Spaniards were immediately gibbeted by De la Marck. With this interchange of cruelties the siege may be said to have opened.

"Don Frederic had stationed himself in a position opposite to the gate of the Cross, which was not very strong, but fortified by a ravelin. Intending to make a very short siege of it, he established his batteries immediately, and on the 18th, 19th, and 20th December directed a furious cannonade against the Cross-gate, the St. John's gate, and the curtain between the two. Six hundred and eighty shots were discharged on the first, and nearly as many on each of the two succeeding days. The walls were much shattered, but men, women, and children worked night and day within the city, repairing the breaches as fast as made. They brought bags of sand, blocks of stone, cart-loads of earth from every quarter, and they stripped the churches of all their statues, which they threw by heaps into the gaps. They sought thus a more practical advantage from those sculptured saints than they could have gained by only imploring their interposition The fact, however, excited horror among the besiegers. Men who were daily butchering their fellow-beings, and hanging their prisoners in cold blood, affected to shudder at the enormity of the offence thus exercised against graven images.

"After three days' cannonade, the assault was ordered, Don Frederic only intending a rapid massacre, to crown his achievements at Zutphen and Naarden. The place, he thought, would fall in a week, and after another week of sacking, killing, and ravishing, he might sweep on to 'pastures new' until Holland was overwhelmed. Romero advanced to the breach, followed by a numerous storming party, but met with a resistance which astonished the Spaniards. The church bells rang the alarm throughout the city, and the whole population swarmed to the walls. The besiegers were encountered not only with sword and musket, but with every implement which the burghers' hands could find. Heavy stones, boiling oil, live coals, were hurled upon the heads of the soldiers; hoops, smeared with pitch and set on fire, were dexterously thrown upon their necks. Even Spanish courage and Spanish ferocity were obliged to shrink before the steady determination of a whole population animated by a single spirit. Romero lost an eye in the conflict, many officers were killed and wounded, and three or four hundred soldiers left dead in the breach, while only three or four of the townsmen lost their lives. The signal of recall was reluctantly given, and the Spaniards abandoned the assault.

"Don Frederic was now aware that Haarlem would not fall at his feet at the first sound of his trumpet. It was obvious that a siege must precede the massacre. He gave orders, therefore, that the ravelin should be undermined, and doubted not that, with a few days' delay,