Italy with Sketches of Spain and Portugal
A few moments snatched from the contemplation of political
crimes, bloodshed, and treachery, are a few moments gained to all
lovers of innocent illusion. Nor need the statesman or the scholar
despise the occasional relaxation of light reading. When Jupiter
and the great deities are represented by Homer as retiring from
scenes of havoc and carnage to visit the blameless and quiet
Ethiopians, who were the farthest removed of all nations, the Lord
knows whither, at the very extremities of the ocean,—would they
have given ear to manifestos or protocols? No, they would much
rather have listened to the Tales of Mother Goose.
London, June 12th, 1834.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
Passage to Ostend.—The Capuchin church.—Ghent.—Quiet and Content, the presiding deities of Flanders.—Antwerp.—The Place
de Meir.—Silence and solitude of the town, contrasted with the tumult and uproar of London.
Visit to the cabinets of pictures in Antwerp.—Monsieur Van Lencren’s collection.—The Canon Knyff’s house and gallery of
paintings.—The Canon himself.—His domestic felicity.—Revisit the cathedral.—Grand service in honour of Saint John the
Baptist.—Mynheer Van den Bosch, the organist’s astonishing flashes of execution.—Evening service in the cathedral.—Magical
effect of the music of Jomelli.—Blighted avenues.—Slow travelling.—Enter the United Provinces.—Level scenery.—Chinese
prospects.—Reach Meerdyke.—Arrival at the Hague.
The Prince of Orange’s cabinet of paintings.—Temptation of St. Anthony, by Breughel.—Exquisite pictures by Berghem and
Wouvermans.—Mean garrets stored with inestimable productions of the Indies.—Enamelled flasks of oriental essences.—Vision of
the wardrobe of Hecuba.—Disenchantment.—Cabinet of natural history.—A day dream.—A delicious morsel.—Dinner at Sir
Joseph Yorke’s.—Two honourable boobies.—The Great Wood.—Parterres of the Greffier Fagel.—Air poisoned by the sluggish
canals.—Fishy locality of Dutch banquetting rooms.—Derivation of the inhabitants of Holland.—Origin and use of enormous
galligaskins.—Escape from damp alleys and lazy waters.
Leave the Hague.—Leyden.—Wood near Haerlem.—Waddling fishermen.—Enter the town.—The great fair.—Riot and uproar.— 32