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forget his name) being at the hotel, had chanced to open his chamber door, at the end of the sleeping gallery, when my nephew was so intently engaged on his examination of old shoes, and, wondering what occasion a gentleman could possibly find for so singular an investigation, he could not dismiss the subject from his thoughts. So strongly was his curiosity excited, that, on seeing my nephew the next day, he could not forbear mentioning the circumstances which had called it forth. When the whole mystery was explained to him, his lordship’s mirth knew no bounds, so greatly was he amused by the ingenuity and success of the device to find out a hidden friend,

As I shall extract, at the end of this letter, some particulars of our journey along the Chemin de Fer from the journal of Mr. Bray, I shall not say much about it myself, excepting it be to remark, that I had on the previous day experienced the wondrous power of the steam engine by water, by the rapid manner in which we had passed from the port of London to that of Ostend; and on this day I was no less struck by the power of steam on land. We very frequently seemed to fly over the ground, for no sooner was an object seen than it was gone. If another train passed ours, its velocity, its seeming uncontrolled force, and the roaring and panting of its engine, had in it, altogether, something frightful; but, as Belgium is a level country, we had none of those dark and subterranean tunnels to pass under which appear as if they were made to conduct one to the regions below; and this idea is not a little strengthened by the strong sulphurous smell, and the noise and smoke of the engine, with its flying sparks and red-hot cinders, and the perpetual vibration from the shaking of the ground over which you pass, in going through the railway tunnels in England.

As we thus flew along (the train resting but a few minutes at the different stations), we had but a hasty view of my old acquaintances, Bruges, Ghent, and Mechlin. I was glad to look once more on towns with which I had been so familiar in former years, and in which I had subsequently thrown the scenes of my second novel, “ The White Hoods.” I confess this cir

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INTRODUCTORY LETTER.

cumstance made me look on the Gothic spires and domes, and the fine old gables of those picturesque towns, with the liveliest interest: it was natural it should be so, for when we have given our thoughts and feelings to a work, and have amused our fancy by peopling a locality with the long departed dead, we are apt ever after to look on the spot with a feeling very like that of belief in the fictions of our own brain.

We arrived at Brussels about five o'clock. We did not remain long enough in the town to see it in detail. To me, however, it was no new thing, for I had been there before. This time I saw only the exterior of the cathedral. I admired it more than I did in my previous tour. The reason, I think, must be, that, at the former visit, I had only a very few months before seen some of the finest cathedrals in France, - those of Tours, Orleans, Angers, Beauvais, Rouen, Amiens, &c.; but of late years I had seen only those of Exeter and Westminster. Now, likewise, I was more struck with the beauty of the Town Hall of Brussels : it is truly a lofty and nobly proportioned edifice; by far the finest

Gothic structure in the whole city. Go where you will, it meets your eye, and forms the most imposing feature of the scene that lies before you. I must not omit saying that at Brussels we had what we afterwards found to be a rarity indeed - an excellent dinner. True it is we were at the finest hotel in Belgium, and one that may rank amongst the first in Europe, and, for such a house, not other than moderate in its charges : I speak of the hotel Belle Vue. It ought to be grand, for it is the neighbour of the palace. My chamber looked directly on the apartments of King Leopold's house, which stands at no great distance in a line with the inn.

The cookery here is excellent: it is in fact the same as in Paris. An endless variety of dishes, all highly or deliciously flavoured, and so well done they are perfectly easy of digestion. The wines at the Belle Vue are likewise excellent; and we all agreed, whilst pledging each other in some fine Burgundy, after dinner, that a good glass of wine was healthful both to body and mind. None of us were advocates for the tea-totaling system. But I must, however, here conclude, and, agreeably to my promise, refer you to the following extract from the journal of Mr. Bray, assuring you,

I am, as ever,
Your most affectionate sister,

A. E. BRAY.

EXTRACT FROM A SEXAGENARIAN'S NOTE-BOOK.

We left Ostend by the Chemin de Fer. The whole is under the direction of the government, and therefore subjected to stricter regulations than railroads in England. The greatest nuisance, or rather absurdity, is the repeated entrance of the conducteur or policeman to identify you by your billet. Had we not paid in advance, I should have thought it was to prevent our absconding without paying our reckoning; for one cannot well imagine that even a harlequin can jump into the window, in order to be carried gratis; or would jump out of it, with the certainty of instant death. The frequency and suddenness of these domiciliary

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