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of De Coster. He had, from time to time, conducted over the field some of the most celebrated men in Europe; among others Lord Byron, Mr. Southey, Sir Walter Scott, and Mr. Thomas Moore. De Coster described himself as having been the guide of Napoleon in his flight from Waterloo after the battle, as far as Charleroi. My nephew now told me that he had been detected for an impostor; he seemed surprised that I had never before heard it. I was, indeed, astonished, as De Coster had nothing in him that would lead to the supposition he could be such a character. He was neither boasting nor obtrusive; indeed his manner was diffident and very simple; and so far from being too communicative, you had to ask him many questions before you felt you were satisfied. So much was I prepossessed in his favour, that I cannot even now set him down as a deceiver, without learning there is something more than mere report in proof that he was such.
We passed, in our route, Genappe- I saw nothing out of the common, unless it were that
in going through the forest of Soignies (which is principally composed of tall and thin beech trees closely set together), I observed the wood that had been cut down for fires was heaped into great piles, in vast numbers, along the road side. We frequently met, also, a curious kind of cart, that would, indeed, be stared at in our country roads in England. It consisted of two immensely long pieces of wood (some of these vehicles being, I should think, much above fifteen feet in length), with a low railing on either side, within which was dropped an enormous basket, of great height, filled with coal or charcoal. These are trifles to put down in a note book; but I confess I did not, in this day's journey, meet with many objects of interest.
The forest of Soignies, and the flat country about it, appeared to me as old acquaintances. Nothing was entirely new but the tying up the tiger lilies in the horses' tails; a fashion which seemed greatly to amuse my two companions, who, though accustomed to see horses with heads dressed in England on days of public ceremo
nial, had never before witnessed any decorations bestowed on their tails.
The country improved as we approached Namur; and certainly the situation of that town, and its surrounding scenery, is pretty, though, I confess, they did not quite equal my expectations, which had been highly raised by Mr. Murray's "Hand-book" having pronounced them to be "most beautiful." a praise which I should reserve for something more striking than the neighbourhood of Namur; yet, I can believe, to the eyes of many it would seem to be beautiful. But mine have been so long accustomed to look on the loveliest scenery in one of the loveliest counties in the west of England, that objects of ordinary attraction do not appear to them invested with any more than ordinary charms.
However, do not let me detract from the merits of Namur, and it has many : the windings of the river, the junction of the Sambre and the Meuse, are all highly pleasing. A mill at the foot of the citadel (which stands on a lofty site) was so picturesque, it would have afforded
a good subject for Prout. We were glad to get housed in a comfortable inn, where we partook of a supper, which was, in fact, our dinner; it was as good as it was welcome, and might be called our farewell supper, since it was long before we met with another congenial to our habits and our taste; for most of our meals, after this, were a sort of apology to our stomachs for giving them just enough to amuse their hunger but not to satisfy it. But, as Daniel de Foe so repeatedly says in his "History of the Plague" I shall have more to say on this head hereafter.
One thing at our supper at Namur much pleased my nephew, and he talked of taking the fashion of it home with him to England. This was a little basket made to hold, reposing on its side, the long-necked bottle of wine; it served it as a sort of cradle; and when you wanted to pour out a glass, you took the basket up by the handle at the end of it, never so much as touching the bottle, and in this way you might pour glass after glass to the last drop. No Englishman would visit Namur without
calling to mind Uncle Toby and Corporal Trim, and how often the siege of that town formed the subject of their proudest recollections, to the great delight of the Widow Wadman, who listened with as much attention to Uncle Toby's accounts of the siege and its perils as did Desdemona to Othello's narration of his "moving accidents by flood and field."
Before our arrival at Namur, my nephew had prepared me for the peal with which our ears would be assailed by the great bell that rings an alarum every night and morning at the closing and opening of the town gates peal totally inconceivable to all who have never heard it. This bell is said never to have sounded without awakening every sleeper within its district. It is, indeed, enough to wake the dead, if the dead could be awakened by any thing but the last trump. Such a deep harsh astounding peal I never before heard proceeding from any composition of metals. Before you have time to recover from the startling shock of one stroke, you have another no less deafening come upon you; yet, notwithstanding