The Relics of General Chasse HTML version

The Relics of General Chasse
That Belgium is now one of the European kingdoms, living by its own laws, resting on its
own bottom, with a king and court, palaces and parliament of its own, is known to all the
world. And a very nice little kingdom it is; full of old towns, fine Flemish pictures, and
interesting Gothic churches. But in the memory of very many of us who do not think
ourselves old men, Belgium, as it is now called--in those days it used to be Flanders and
Brabant--was a part of Holland; and it obtained its own independence by a revolution. In
that revolution the most important military step was the siege of Antwerp, which was
defended on the part of the Dutch by General Chasse, with the utmost gallantry, but
nevertheless ineffectually.
After the siege Antwerp became quite a show place; and among the visitors who flocked
there to talk of the gallant general, and to see what remained of the great effort which he
had made to defend the place, were two Englishmen. One was the hero of this little
history; and the other was a young man of considerably less weight in the world. The less
I say of the latter the better; but it is necessary that I should give some description of the
The Rev. Augustus Horne was, at the time of my narrative, a beneficed clergyman of the
Church of England. The profession which he had graced sat easily on him. Its external
marks and signs were as pleasing to his friends as were its internal comforts to himself.
He was a man of much quiet mirth, full of polished wit, and on some rare occasions he
could descend to the more noisy hilarity of a joke. Loved by his friends he loved all the
world. He had known no care and seen no sorrow. Always intended for holy orders he
had entered them without a scruple, and remained within their pale without a regret. At
twenty-four he had been a deacon, at twenty- seven a priest, at thirty a rector, and at
thirty-five a prebendary; and as his rectory was rich and his prebendal stall well paid, the
Rev. Augustus Horne was called by all, and called himself, a happy man. His stature was
about six feet two, and his corpulence exceeded even those bounds which symmetry
would have preferred as being most perfectly compatible even with such a height. But
nevertheless Mr. Horne was a well-made man; his hands and feet were small; his face
was handsome, frank, and full of expression; his bright eyes twinkled with humour; his
finely-cut mouth disclosed two marvellous rows of well-preserved ivory; and his slightly
aquiline nose was just such a projection as one would wish to see on the face of a well-
fed good-natured dignitary of the Church of England. When I add to all this that the
reverend gentleman was as generous as he was rich--and the kind mother in whose arms
he had been nurtured had taken care that he should never want--I need hardly say that I
was blessed with a very pleasant travelling companion.
I must mention one more interesting particular. Mr. Horne was rather inclined to
dandyism, in an innocent way. His clerical starched neckcloth was always of the whitest,
his cambric handkerchief of the finest, his bands adorned with the broadest border; his
sable suit never degenerated to a rusty brown; it not only gave on all occasions glossy