Press enter after choosing selection

Foreign Correspondence

Foreign Correspondence image
Parent Issue
Day
28
Month
November
Year
1873
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

DliESDEN, Juno 22, 1878. Kesuming our journey fit Eotterdnmi we continued on as far as the llague or Gravenhage as the Dutch have it. It should be mentioned as a matter of considerable importance that at Breda, a fortress city of 15,000 population on the Merk and Aa, we had the great honor of arriving at tho same time as tho King of Holland from the other direction, and as we passod slowly by the special train had the satisfaction of seeing him with his four companions standing up in full uniforms in their car to be gaznd at. There was of course a great crowd and many flags and gay regimentals displayed in all directions, but here as ever we noticed the little apparent enthusiasm or outward display of noiso and exoiteuient with which the poople are affected in Kurope upon these public occasions. There is not any great increase of varicty in the scenery from Rotterdam to the Hague. The rivers havo no banks, and the only visible hills are those desolate dunes, as they are called, which are almost pure and barren sand thrown up by the wiiid, something hke the vicinity of Miohigan city only more extensive ; but the inexhaustible fertility of the other lands, and the teeming population they support, have filled the entire country with cities aud villages, through many of which we passed. Among tho larger may be mentioned Schiedam, noted for its groat nninber of distilleries- over 220 in a population less than 20,000. Holland rum is one of the liquors produced. As we stopped a few moments at the station we observed that there was music and fun prevailing in the rooms near us, from whioh we inferred that it had an enliving effect Delft is a place somewhat larger.onoe celebrated for its potteries and porcelain, but not so much so now. We had ft glimpse of the village spires of Ryswyk, so well known in history from the famous treaty - to whioh it gave its name in 1697, betweeu England, Holland, France, and Germany. The Hague is more and better known because of its court and diplomatists than of any importance commercially, though it numbers a population of about 90,000. It must be confessed we did not find the city so interesting as we had anticipated. lts palaces are numerous, but wo have seen so many better, - and its public squares possesses very few attractions; even the storks which figure in the armorial boarings of the city and reeeive its protection, did not make their promised appearance in the markot. The park beinsr some distance out we did not visit it, and this we regretted because no more pleasaut places are to befound than the large parks of these European cities. Wfi rlid. l.owever, visit with nrnnrifi ■.- faction the Picture Gallery in the Museum, containing some of the choicest gems of the Dutch school. The following are but a few of these rare productions: The " School oL Anatomy," by Rembrandt, is one of those perfect works which would be the source of unbounded satisfaction but for the strange selection of his subject, which is f ar from an agreeable one. It represents a celebrated professor surrounded by his pupils looking with intense interest upon the disseotion which he is conducting. Another work of the same great master, " Presentation in the Temple," is of equal merit and more pleasing and is reckoned as one of his most perfect productions. Of a very different style is the world renowned cattle piece of Paul Potter.in which a magnificent buil occupies the foreground. Certainly no painter ever more thoroughly placed on canvass living ernbodiments of his ideal animáis than is done in this great picture. There is also one of Murillo's Madonnas here which bears a general resemblance to one of those at Florence. There are some fine spacious squares, but in general they lack the taste and beauty of those charming features of Parisan life. In the Plein, one of the largest of these, stands a bron ze statue of William I., representing him with one finger raised upward as if enforcing silence, an attribute of his ownpendence so wellexpressedinhis favorite motto, " amvis tranquillits in dü." Froin the Hague we took seats for Haarlem, only one hour and a half distant, the road running parallel to the German Ocean coast and in constant sight of those barren wastes, the dunes, which extend along the shore and of ten inlandfor miles. We passed through Leydpn. with some regrets thit we thought it necessary not to stop over one day there. It is only a half hour ride from the Hague, with some 40,000 population, and is tho most nncient of the Holland eities. One of tho several outlets of the Ehine flows through the city as sluggish of current as if reluctant to reach the sea. lts Univereity founded in 1575 has had some of the most noted names of their time associated with lts history : Grotiers, Descartes, Scaligu, Boerhave, Salmasins, and others. The collections of Natural History are ainong the best in Europe, and a very fine museum of Japanese ouriosities is preserved there ; but in Art, though the birth-place of that remarkable artist, Eeinbrandt van Evn, and of Dow, Metsa and Muris, it is " poor indeed," having not a single picture which could induce a tra veler to feel compensated for delaying on liis way. Several small stations are passed beforo reaching Haarlem, and for a short distance the road carne into the immediate vicinity of the " dunes," with their scanty vegetation and abundance of sand, and strange to say this was quite near to the place where the celebrated Linieus resided for some time and wrote his Systema Naturae. His inspiration must havo been froin within unless some different aspect presen ted itself at tht day. Haarlem we fotind to be one of the most pleasant places we saw in Holland. It has only about 30,000 inhabitants, but i it is so clean and substantial and table,- with such nice and unmistakably Dutch architecture, such curious headgear and clatter of wooden shoes, pickle stands, and all that. The lion of Haarlem ia undoubtedly the great organ which waa once regarded as the largest and inost powerful in the world. Constructed in 1738 it is as fresh in appearance and its tones as full and harraonioua now as in that far off time. It is played upon for the gratification of the public twice each week - an hour at each time, and it was our good fortune to be present on one of these occasions. It filis one end of the nave of the large church and is extremely well designed architecturally 80 as to combine suflicient ornamont without any exce&sive display. In our hasty sketch of Autwerp we omitted to mention one of the niost beautiful buildings of the kind that wo have seen. The bourse is but recently restored from injuries received some years since by fire, and the beautiful doublé arcades surrounding the innor court are remarkably fine, with their graceful Moorish arches and the facades richly ornamentad above the gallery, with brightly colored armonial hearings of all the Holland cities, and with delicate tracery ; while the fretted oornices of the arched roof looks like frost-work or the product of an enchanter's wand. The granite pillars below are also very artistioally wrought and the whole effect is wonderfully fine and quite different t'rom nnything we have yet Been, In passing through the country we noticed that the potatoes (June 8th) were looking very flnely and about 8 inches high, the grain crops, generally rye, in good condition and rapidly maturing, and what was a new and really very beautiful sight to us, we saw fields of the crimson colored clover, fair and bright enough to be cultivated in our flower gardens, having a leaf not quite so large as the coinmon red clover and with a growth not quite so strong. The dwellings or cottages were quite generally thatched and of a single story, with a few shade trees planted about them, while frequent forests oL pines of various size were encountered, all of which have been planted in straight rows and generally very closely together. Along the ditches and small oanals formal rows of willows were very generally planted, forming in appearance the boundaries of the many fields, taking the place of fences. But to resume our account of things at Haarlem. At the time of the public playing of the great organ there was but a small attendance, most of whom were strangers. The citizens present were apparently of the opinión that it was inteuded as a sort of promenade concert, and were walking about enjoying themselves during the performance. Of the inerits of the playing or of the instrument itself we do not teel competent to speak. ThH liit.tar KHomotl fiilly au1 " " AI" " great catnoaral, ana wus at the same time free froiu harshness of tone. The old churoh was origiually erected as a Roman Catholic edifice ani possessed many embellishmenta which the later Protestaniam could not tolérate and ao hid from sight by a good coating of paint, giving the otherwise noble struoture a aoniewhat bare appearance. In comparatively recent times portions of this superimposed scum of paint has been removed from two of the largecolumns supporting the aisles, exposing for several square feet some of the richly colored frescoes and texts with which all were once decora ted. A similar restoration of a poition of the choir stalls has exposed the armorial designs of some of the old time dignitaries, f'resh in color and distinctness as if the work of our own day. A brazen aereen separates the choir from the nave and is curiously ornamented with designs of foliage and animáis. Beneath one of the arches between the nave and aisle are suspended the small models of three artcient war veasels used in the 5th Crusade, one of thein bearing at eaoh side of the prow and quite detached from it a small fort, such as might seeni servicoable on land but decidedly novel as an appendage to a ship of war. These models were constructed in 1668, to replace otherslike them which had been suspended there some two centuries before. In the wall of one of the aislea is a camión ball, about half embedded, which is said to have been fired during the disastrous Spanish siege in 1573, in which thousands of the citizens perished or were inhumanly executed by the victor, the son of the notorious and cruel Duke of Alva. By sonie adjustment of tho machiuery of the clook tower a large dial píate was located directly over the central portion of the nave and gave notice of the time to all who chose to look upward. A bronze statue of Coster stands in the market place fronting the church, which represent him as holding in his hand movable types. It is clahned that ho was the real inventor of printing.having taken impressions from types cut in wood as early as 1423, and afterward made use of separate and movable types in lead and zinc. We spent part of our afternoon most pleasantly in the fine park lying south of the city. It is quite extensivo and we have nowhere soen more magnificent trees. In some of the open spaces we eaw poles some 25 feet high, ereoted with a platform top upon which the storks had built their nests, and upon the edges of which the happy occupants were lazily perched. In another portion was a large enclosure for a considerable herd of deer ; about a dozen young fawns noarly half grown carne to the fence for contributions to their appetites, and here for the first time - and quite in contradictiontothestrong statements of the venerable Dr. Nott, who used to assert that no animal but man would eat tobáceo - we saw these fawns greedily eat cigars without injury and crave more. We were told by an old gentleman who accompanied us in our walk that they were really very fond of the weed, and that it was quite harmless in their case at least. The so called pavilion, a chateau erected by the noted banker, Mr. Hope of Amsterdam, stands in the border of the park, and seems to present the appearance of a very agreeable as well as spacious residenoe. Louis Napoleon, ex-King of Holland, oooupied it for a time. It is at present the depository of the pioture gallery, a good but not a large collection of Dutch pictures, none of which have any extended celebrity. Every reader is familiar with tho incredible stories told about the Tulip manía which once raged in Holland. The head-quarters of this bulb producing business was then and is yet at Haarlem, and we saw acres of the bulbous plants, tulips, anemones, crocuses, hyacinths, &c, extendfar out into the country surrounding the city; butinstead of paying 13,000 florins for a single root as the story goes, the rarest variety now seldora exceeds 10 florins. The desire to see more of the sand bilis, and at the samo time ouo of the finost villages with the attractive name of Bloomendael, led us to niake an excursión for tliia purpose. The road of course was excellent, as all Gernian roads are, and the village delightfully shady and rural, yet with every iudication that wealth and taste had been coinbined in construction and arrangement of tuany of the villas in and about it. We saw a very extensiva bleaching ground and buildings near there : the long white strips were spread upon the clean grass, and from the streani the laborera were sprinkling them by shoveling the water with a long handled sooop-like affair, and with a dextrous 6wing scattering it in a wido ghower upon the linen. Passing beyond the village and the lunatic asylum amid the trees still further on, wo reached the broken walls and picturesque ruins of the Chateau of Broderode, a powerful family who had their aeat hore about 300 ears ago. It was a singular place in which to find a castle in ruins: no large river, no towering crag or 6carcely an important highway near. Here we began to fiud the sand everywhere, and to protect their small enclosuers from its drifting over and covering the vegetation large fences of basket work were constructed with infinito perseverance and labor. As we began to cliuib the bilis forined by this ever shifting gand we soon left the wooded portion near the lower level, where the pines as is their wont were able to thrive upon the thin soil, and higher up scarcely anything of tree or grass could fasten itself in the loose ground, though every effort had been and was constantly being made to induce the silver poplar and similar trees and dwarfish shrubs to grow. It was a singular evidence of the wide-spread diffusion of the beautiful by the hand of Providence, on the barren dunes as well as in " the deep unfathomed caves of ocean " that we found the tiny bushes of a tiful white rose laden with blossoms and those we admit to uur gardens, scattered over the very topa oí' theso arid hills. The prospect from the highest of these hills (250 feot) was like that trom a ship's mast over the ocean. at rest, in one direotion level and limitless, and in the other like looking upon the same sea tossed into tumultuous confusión, drear and uninviting. This range of utter dreariness is here about three miles in width, reaching to the shore and extending for many miles along the coast, and the contrast between the rich plains of North Holland with cities and villages visible in every part, with the gleaming surface of the Wijker meer and the Y shining amid the richost verdure of forest and meadow - and the nakedness and desolate upheaval of aand every where adjoining, was strikingly impressive. But we must turn from this kindly and snug old Dutch city, and take a look f urther inland from the sea, at the great center of Nethorlandish activity, Amsterdam. Ever vours,

Article

Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus