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Foreign Correspondence

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Dresden; Juno 27, 1873. , Fkiend Pond: The ride from Haarlem to Amsterdam , is only about half an hour by rail, and the traveler has the alternativo of making the distance also by canal or highway, as ( these lines of communication run side by . side and quite straight all the way. The canal boats do not offer very tempting . accommodations or great speed, being ïnuch smaller in size than those we are acoustomed to, and often drawn by men harnessed for the purpose; and to ride in the common vehicles of the highway would reduce one to a " bowlful of jelly." As we leave the station we traverse a broad plain under the highest state of cultivation, with shade trees and buildings and everything to fill a Hollander's heart with content, yet, it is but little more than 30 years ago that a lako 18 miles long, 9 in width, and noarly 15 feet dcep covered this boautiful tract. It has been thus successfully reclaimed and is kept in proper condition for culture by the operation of enginos which perform the necessary work uncomplainingly; and this is but a single oxample of the extent and character of thousands of square miles of these so-callcd " polders," on which a happy and contented people are oheerfully doing life's work. At the only station on the road there are gatea constructed between the water of thejY and this Haarlemet Meer, which if opened would deluge the country for 30 miles around, it is said. If persevering industry can overeóme all obstacles like these, surely there ought to be hope of ultimate success for those who get homesteads in our teeming West, almost for the asking and alreadyfor the plow. The approach tj Amsterdam is not particularly striking. The windmills placed upon the line of the old fortifications form the most conspicuous and interesting objects which rise abovo the general level. lts situation on that wido arm of the Zinder Zee called the Y or Ij, pronounced I, gives it such a fine harbor that the wharves for a distance of nearly two miles exhibit unmistakable proof of the vast commerce of the city. One of the first things we noticed in passing along the streets was the very common inclination of the buildings over the street, so great as to mako them very perceptibly nearer together at top than below, a fact accounted for by the setting of the piles upon which all the edifloes of the city has to be built. Then too, we nowhere else found the smell of dried fish of many kinds so geuerally perceptible. In its architocture. too. thero vu nhanrvable a singular adherence toaucient habito. J-t -M gome of the most aristocratie streets, devotod to private residences and displaying every indication of great wealth, the houses - generally three or four stories in height, with tall pointed gables upon the street and fronting the canals- were all constructed with a projecting hood and arrangements for hoisting merchandise like so many great warehouses. In many respects we were remindod of Venice by the frequent canals and general valenoR of water. The city fronts upon the water, it is then surrounded by a wide moat somethinpr more than an are of a semi-circle. Concentric with this are four other large canals of similar extent within the city, and these again are intercepted by others in such numbers that the city is divided into nearly 100 small islands, between which cominunication is preserved by means of 280 bridges. There is, however, this marked difference between it and Venice : instead of building directly upon the canals as is done in the latter place, a wide street intervenes generally botween the buildings and the canals, and these too are often finely shadod, forming some of the most beautiful promenades. To say that Amsterdam is as clean as the other cities we had just visited would not comport with our observations, but it is a stirring and busy city and presents few objects of interest to travelers whose time is liiriited, except its Zoölogical garden, picture gallones and museums. The first of those is thought to be ono of the finest in Europe, and the afternoon we spent in seeing its extensive variety of animáis, birds.'and collections was most pleasantly entertaining. The grounds are well shaded and kept in the best of order ; the space allotted to the various species of tho animal creation wa3 generous and as much like its native haunts as could well be constructed. Among the animáis not usually seen we had here an opportunity to see the Hippopotamus, wallowing about in the great water tanks their huge, ugly heads sometimes above sometimes below the surface; the beaver, at equal liberty to plunge into his bath or to gnaw upon the tree trunks placed in his reach ; the sloth, hanging sound asleop, suspended by its self-acting olaws beneath the limb of a tree, rolled together so much like a mere ball of hair that it was iinpossible to find his head; the cameleopard, stalking slowly about in his very tall barn or looking down as if in doubt whetker he could reaoh the ground; and ïundreds of others more generally seen. Of birds the number was legión and emDraced varieties from every land and sea almost, and all in excellent condition, building their nests, inoubating and rearing their young quite as naturally as if quite free from all restraint. A museum of Chinese and Japaneae curiosities upon the grounds is full of very interesting objeots from those lands, with many illustrationa of their domestic arts and architecture ; but rather too much limited in space for the extent of the collection. We spent an hour one day in visiting the Sailora' Inatitution, where boys are educated for the merchant service in all that is needed for commercial intercourse with other nationa, and a happier, fresher lot of faces we have seldom seen. One of these was assigned the duty of showing the rooms, &c, and if the intelligence of all may be inferred from thatjof this youth their training and advantages must be of the best. A vessel full rigged stood in the court as large as any of our sloops on the Hudson, and all the other appurtenauces to their technical and general education seemed to be present. With commendablo curiosity the members of our party feit a desire to visit the cleanest village in Holland, about five miles distaiit, called Broek. Crossing tho Y and going by the regular steamer line up the Groat Northern Canal as far as Buiksloot, we had an opportunity of seeing this magnificent work, one of the largest oanals in the world, being 20 feet deep and navigable by vessela of very heavy tonnage. It connecta Amsterdam with Nieuwe Diep at the Helder, the Northern extremity of the peninsular portion of Holland, about 42 miles, and is muoh used as the shorter and safer way of reaching that point. Still another and even larger canal is to be constructed to accommodate the increasing demand. The canal at Buiksloot is 10 feet below the average level of the sea at half tide, and more of course at high tidc, and gates of immense strength are constructed at the first look as woll as others directly opposite Amsterdam. We found the steamers comfortably fitted up, especially comfortable for so short a trip where most of the timo is spent upon deck ; but butter in firkius and other froight was pretty thickly stowed away even upon deck. Leaving the steamer at B., our course was by a smaller canal branching off to the right, upon which the smaller sizei canal boats are towed by men. The great business of the región seemed to be grazing cattle and butter and cheese making. Upon arriving at Broek we entered the extremely quite place across the only bridge, and found posted upon opposite ends of the bridge a notice to the effect that horses were to be driven only upon the main street and in no case faster than a walk. It is said that formerly horses were to be led by the head at a foot pace instead of being driven. That the yillage is neat and clean there can be no doubt, and that a stillness and quiet pervades its streets somewhat tooapparent to be enjoyableis also true. It has about 1,200 inhabitants whose occupation consists almost entirely of cheese making. These cheeses are about six inches in diameter, exactly spberical, and fill the shelves or stand outside to dry like so many cannon balls ; but they are vory nice and so hard as to bear transportation ' without danger of brüaking. The streeta of this model place are very narrow, ; paved with brick, and meander about without much directness ; the houses are all small and those in which merchandise seenied to be kept, appeared to dethe entire stock. The most striking evidenoe of active enterprise we saw was that of the proprietress of antique orockery and a few other notions. She came out and besought us to come in and look at her valuable wares, assuring us that she had been patronized by the Kussian nobility and other foreign dignitaries. We yielded to the pertinacity, but bought nothing. She then begged the honor of our cards to place among the number of her other customers, and there they are on exhibition - doubtless as patrons of her establishment. Having wandered over the eutire place, seen but one horse and no wheeled vehicles, looked into all open doorways as we passed, observed the baker delivering buiing with his hand basket, and stared with eagar astonishment at two dogs gamboling in the streets, we adjourned to the restaurant of the village to partake of the " cheer that does not inebriate " and try some of the celobrated Edamcheese. Thiscompleted oursojourn at Broek, and if to be the cleanest village of the land it is nescessary to be so alarmingly still and lifeless we think a slight mixture of the dust (or dirt even) of busy trafile and animation would be an improvement. Yet our excursión was an enjoyablo one, and to see the country and its canals without hurry was an opportunity we do not regret. Returning again to the junction and taking tickets upon the the steamer which soon arrived, we were speedily landed near the Nieuwe Stads Herberg, at Amsterdam, there are two important looalities close by tbis landing : one just east is the Haringspakkerij where, as the word seems to indícate, herrings were packed, au important trade even yet; further west upon the projecting point of the wharf( is an old tower called (for brevity probably) Schreyershoekstoren, from which vessels sailed in the olden time to distant parts of the world, and the quantity of tears shed there by parting friends, is said to have given rise to the namo. There is nothing remarkable in the appearance of the tower, but a rudo relief upon its base seems to corrobarate the legendary origin of the singular name. But it isjin the National gallery that we spent our time most agreeably, for it is dservedly considered ona of the finest eolleotions of the old Dutoh school. The finest picture, as it is thought, is by Van der Helst, a semi-historical composition, representing a banquet of the Arquebusiers aftor the peaco of Munster, in 1648. There are 25 Ufe size figures introduced and skillfully grouped, all of which are portraits of the men of that time. Directly opposit hanga a pioture of about the same size, the " Night Patrol," by Rembrandt, a work worthy his pencil and would by niany be thought more satisfactory than the other ; but both are above criticism, for they are nearly inimitable. Both these artists have other specimens of their skill in tho eolleotion. Gerard Dow also has here one of those gems of perfect painting which exainination under a magnifier only serves to improve. It is called the " Evening School." Several cattle pieces by Potter i cannot fail to please. Portraits by dyke, whieh are equally pleasing with the tableaux of others ; genre pictures by Steen, Ostade, Teniers and rnany others, all convey to the visitor a constant delight. In these okl galleries another aouroe of much gratification is found in the discovery now and;then of the real portraits of eminent historical personages, for which, they probably set in person. In this oollection, for instanoe, we saw the'portraits of Quoen Elizabeth, by Pourbus ; of Mary Stuart, by Vander Helst : of Peter the Great, by A de Gelder ; of the Earl of Leicester, Admiral Colegne, &o. Besides thi's there are two other colleotions containing exoeilent pictures which in many places would be regarded as noble galeries. Of the churches in Amsterdam we can say but little. They were unattractive in exterior and boast of no interior deeoration except sonie stained glass occasionally or a plain monument of sonio old admiral. There is a singularpractico observable in this and many other cities of Europe of building dwelling and shops directly against the large cathodral and other churches, so as to completely conceal the lower portion of the edifice except it may be the facado itself. This was particularly observable at Antwerp, where but for this allowablo nestling of dozens of small buildings about its base and under its wings (to carry out this figure), the cathedral would have a fine isolated space in the open square in which to display its grandeur. One singular fact struck our attention at Amsterdam, in the difficulty of finding money changers' offices which in some cities are but too abundant. Nor are hotels, and cafes so common as we have generally found theni elsewhere : an indication probably of a lesa number of transient residents than is usual upon more frcquented routes. But this hasty trip through Belgium and Holland, like many other things, must have an frend, and we shall tako passage from here to Berlín direct, passing through Utrecht and Arnheim without stopping. Ho good-bye to Holland and to y ou. Ever yours,


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