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here (which was the case in regard to the bust of Brutus being omitted in a procession), what was absent occupied the mind more than what was present.
Opposite to the salon in which we dined was the Café de l'Amitié; and here two grisettes happened to meet as I was looking out of the window. Had it been their wish to give an appropriate tableau parlant, they could not have succeeded better. I did not hear their conversation ; indeed the window was not open; but they performed the whole in what, as regarded myself, might be called dumb-show, in a manner that would not disgrace the boards even of an opera buffa. La pièce de comédie might be considered that of “swearing an eternal friendship.” Not content with putting every limb by turns into almost every position that seemed calculated to arrest one another's attention, and probably that of others - one of them seemed to be as au fait in the manæuvres of an umbrella (for it was a showery day), as Addison represents the belles of his time in regard to the manæuvres of the fan ; — at last they gently
touched one another's bosom, (which I thought was more in character than for men to kiss each other-a common practice on the Continent,) and parted; one of them entering the hotel, of which she probably was the chamber-maid: and thus, as it were, even to the finale, they kept up the theatrical illusion.
We left Brussels in the diligence, being fortunate enough to get the coupé to ourselves. This, excepting the difficulty of getting into it, is as comfortable as a post-chaise; indeed, in point of room, more so. It was the first time I bad ever been drawn by three horses abreast. I compared this clumsy machine to one that probably was still more clumsy, namely, a triumphal car. “If so,” said my wife's nephew, who was seated in the middle, “I have the greatest pretension to be considered the conqueror.” “Yes,” I replied, “whilst your aunt is the Victory to crown you with laurel, and I the slave to remind you that you are mortal.” According as the road is level or steep they vary the number of the horses, sometimes having four, and once (in ascending the hill at Longwy) seven — the three leaders being abreast. And the ascent after all was achieved with some difficulty, notwithstanding the number of the horses; neither the conducteur nor the driver even thinking of walking, though probably some of the passengers, like myself, would have gladly left the vehicle, not only out of humanity to the animals, but to stretch their legs and enjoy the prospect. The conducteur amused himself, and possibly the horses (and if so, I beg his pardon for my reflection on him for want of humanity), by blowing his horn. There was certainly an attempt at a tune; equal, perhaps, to that of the ranz des vaches. Why might it not be a ranz des chevaux ? My wife, however, exclaimed, “Can that be meant for music ?” At the top of the hill one of the horses also sounded a wind instrument; and a French woman, who was with us, said “ Chacun à son tour ! Le cheval sonne la trompête de joie d'avoir arrivé au sommet de la colline!”
The whole set-out of a diligence is as opposite as possible to that of any public conveyance in England. The harness, if such it can be called,
is never blackened, I might say never cleaned, except by the rains of heaven, though the cleaning, or at least oiling it, would add to its duration. This is the more remarkable, as foreigners are fond of show, and strive to attract attention by every means in their power. The collars and blinkers of their waggon-horses are richly studded, or rather embroidered, with brass nails, though these, too, they never clean ; as if they considered that the removal of the
would as much depreciate this horse-armour in the eyes of a voiturier, as it would an ancient coin in those of an antiquary. As for attracting attention by noise, the voituriers are so expert at it, that they can crack their whips as loud as the report of a pistol, and sometimes may be said to give complete volleys, particularly when they drive up to an hotel: this, indeed, is as common a signal of an arrival as is blowing a horn in England. The horses of the diligence are all of the cart-breed, ill groomed, but well fed. Their flowing manes and tails reminded me of many an animal in the pictures of Reubens and Wouvermans.
Whether by being pampered they are more susceptible, or whether the whips (which seems to be the case) are more potent or irritating than our own, the horses seldom submitted to the lash without kicking. This appeared only to excite a counter-irritation in the driver, for the more they kicked the more he flogged; indeed, I have seen a driver descend and kick in his turn, and once so brutally strike the horse, that had excited his malice, in the head with the butt end of his whip, that I thought it would have stunned him. I could almost fancy that these gentlemen of the whip had learnt the art of flagellation from some of their saints : they take care, however, not to inflict this discipline on themselves. The collars of these horses are exceedingly high, which, perhaps, is necessary to give the driver sufficient command over them on roads that are subject to such deep declivities, for the reins have thus (if I may so express myself) a more perpendicular purchase. Most of those collars have bells; and some of them, terminating in the shape of a helmet, are encircled with a wreath of them, and reminded me