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fected the appetites of my husband and nephew. The latter told me, that he had just heard this was the anniversary of the Fête Dieu; there was to be a procession of the priests, &c. throughout the town, in honour of it, during the morning. I felt anxious that both my companions should see the show; more especially Mr. Bray, to whom I had often said, when he deprecated the superstitions of the Church of Rome, that he could form no adequate idea of them, in their full extent, till he witnessed their observance in a Roman Catholic state. And, on afterwards seeing many of these idolatries, Mr. Bray acknowledged, with deep regret for the poor benighted people, that I had spoken the truth.
I have very little to say of my adventures at this place, as they really did not extend beyond the inn, where the old woman, and the want of clothes and nightcaps, chiefly occupied our attention. We got our baggage, however, safely restored to us from the custom-house, and prepared to start in the twelve o'clock train, by the Chemin de Fer, for Brussels. An omnibus,
up, and put us down at the station-house whence departed the trains for the different towns in Belgium.
We learnt, before we left the inn, that, in consequence of the day threatening rain, no procession in honour of the Fête Dieu would parade the streets. But, as we passed along, we observed several were prepared for it, by being hung with ornamental festoons of white paper, suspended from house to house, in a line across the street. As we drove on, I recognised the same dull uninteresting town, surrounded by the same flat swampy ground, and low fortifications, which I had seen nineteen years before. The long flat line of shore was also visible; and we reached the station-house without having passed a single object of interest in our way.
When arrived, then began anew noise, bustle, and confusion. Our baggage was taken from us and weighed; after which we were to take leave of it till we reached Brussels; for in each train there is a sort of movable magazine, for the baggage of each town at which it stops. After the weighing and booking, you have a
ticket given you of the items of your effects. This you produce at your journey's end; and, on doing so, the magazine gives forth your property safe and sound. The only danger is, that unless it is most clearly directed for the town to which you are bound, you may go one way and your baggage be sent another. Such a mishap once befel my nephew and some of his friends; and, as the incident is connected with an amusing issue, I shall here mention the particulars as he related them to me.
In the year 1838 we were to have gone abroad with him; but an adverse mood in that whimsical old lady, yclept Fortune, sent him out alone, and, by a twirl of her wheel, kept us at home under no very joyous circumstances. In his passage to Antwerp he met with some friends, and they agreed to travel together through part of Belgium, commencing their journey by the Chemin de Fer. When they got to the first place of their destination, they found that their baggage must have been sent elsewhere, by some other train, as it was not to be met with in that which had conveyed themselves.
They tossed up who should go back for it. The lot fell to a couple of young Cantabs, who speedily set off on this errand of discovery. These youths, it was agreed, were to rejoin my nephew at a certain hotel, on a certain evening, at Brussels. Thither came the latter, but his friends were not to be found. He did not see their
names in the inn book a record where all the newly arrived are generally requested to enter, not their names only, but their professions, whence they come, and whither they are going, and even their age; as if it were of any consequence that all the world should be informed in what precise year the traveller came into it, who is now, may be, like a second Galileo, bound on his journey, to solve the doubt if it be round or square; though the moderns, in direct opposition to some of the learned in the days of Elizabeth, have very generally disposed of the question in favour of its rotundity.
But this is a digression: my nephew, I say, not being able to find any entry of his friends in the books, next applied to the garçons, or waiters; but, to his inquiries if two English gentle
men might have arrived on that day at the inn, he received an answer that more than twenty had. Still, however, he could not persuade himself to believe that his friends had broken their engagement, and, in order to settle his doubts, he resorted to the following most ingenious mode of solution:
He suffered all the house to go to bed, and then, candle in hand, sallied forth, and, going gently from door to door at the chambers of the sleepers, took up and examined with the nicest tact all the shoes, pair after pair, that stood ready for the "Boots" in the morning. At length he came to a shoe, which the accurate observations of a Cantab in such matters at once enabled him to decide to be the true and unequalled Cambridge cut. Assured by this circumstance of the arrival of his college friends, he tapped at their door, entered, and found both them and the baggage with a joy little less than that experienced by Cinderella on the successful issue of trying on the glass slipper.
Now all this did not pass quite so privately as my nephew had expected. Lord Somebody (I