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all this power of sound, the tones of the Namur bell are funereal and melancholy; so much so, that I can give this famous monitor of the birth and death of the day no other distinction than that of calling it a solemn nuisance.
We walked about the town on the morning of the 2d of July, and, at a quarter before three, quitted it in the diligence for Metz: as my nephew, whose time was limited, was very anxious to get into Switzerland as soon as possible, our object was to drive on as fast as we could for Schaffhausen. The country we had now to pass was for many miles so uninteresting that I could see in it nothing worthy observation, unless it were that it suggested a remark which, on my making it to Mr. Bray, drew his attention to the subject that had excited mine. I told him that I fancied I could now account for the dull cold greens, which, in general, are so conspicuous in the works of Rysdale, in all other respects a most charming landscape painter. I felt convinced that he had been true to nature, for he was born a Fleming, and had not opportunity of studying her works,excepting in Belgium and Holland, where the verdure is not at all bright, but of a dull dirty green, and the earth of a cold greyish hue.
We met with very little travelling ; very few passengers on the road; indeed very few human beings of any kind or description. Now and then a stunted figure of a Belgian soldier, or a poor old woman, or a very ugly young one, crossed the road, or sauntered along it. I observed every here and there, by the way-side, some small oratory, containing the image of a saint, or more frequently that of a miserable wax or wooden doll, dressed up with old finery, and intended to represent the Virgin Mary, with her “ Blessed Son” in her arms. These images are often so ludicrous and trumpery, that a stranger wonders how any one above the age
of a mere child could look on them without feeling contempt and disgust. Yet, on the steps which lead up to these wretched hovels of idolatry, I have seen poor creatures on their bended knees, apparently engaged in the most fervent devotions. All the churches that I saw in this day's journey were ugly and poor. And we often passed long rows of trees, planted by the way-side, in a line as straight as the arrow fies: such were not in the least picturesque, and rather disfigured than otherwise the landscape. There was a French lady with us in the coupé of the diligence, who exceedingly amused Mr. Bray; so much did she remind him of one of Sterne's characters in the “ Sentimental Journey.” She was remarkably goodnatured and obliging, and upon her travels for change of air, having lately been ill. She had an immense bottle of medicine in her basket, which she unfortunately broke; but she contrived most patiently to hold it in her lap, in a manner so as not to spill what was left in the bottom of the bottle, till we reached La Marche, where we were to sup, and where she procured another.
Never shall I forget the scene that presented itself at that supper. All the passengers of the diligence were ushered into a room, where sat a most singular and not a very select company; amongst others, a Belgian officer in full uniform, whom, but for his dress, and some order that hung at his buttonhole, I never should have suspected to be a gentleman: we afterwards met with many Belgian officers of the same kind, not a whit more gentlemanly, being in this respect very different to the French officers, who are no less polished than intel. ligent. There was nothing eatable at this supper, not even the bread, for that was sandy and sour, so we gave over the attempt of making a meal, though we were desperately hungry. I asked the landlady if she had any ham, and she forthwith produced a bone of that viand, which had but a very small portion of meat remaining upon it. Everybody at table seemed eager to fasten on this bone, and they used no ceremony; but when it came to my turn to pick something from it, I could not reconcile myself to the attempt, as I had just before seen it handled by a Fleming, who seemed to think knives and forks very unnecessary implements over his supper. There was also nothing that could be drunk, for the wine was sour, and the water not pure. Mr. Bray and my nephew could not partake of any of these delicacies, and I, though by far the most hungry of the party, gave over all hope after the first taste; but as I was the person who had caused the production of the ham bone, the good dame of the house, who seemed to annex a high value to such a luxury, made me pay my proportion towards it, as she made an extra charge upon every person who had touched it, — truth to tell, the charge was not very high, being but a few sous.
There was one individual forming a part of the household of this place, with whom I was exceedingly amused, never before having seen any one so perfectly in accordance with the picture drawn by Cervantes, of Maritornes, the damsel of the inn, whose adventures with Sancho and the muleteer caused so many disastrous circumstances to poor Don Quixote. The damsel of the inn of La Marche agreed with the portrait given by the Spanish novelist in every point of resemblance. She was short, thickset, fat, and had a face like a piece of mahogany in colour, a mouth that extended from ear to ear, and eyes as black and as glowing