Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[blocks in formation]

brushwood. After proceeding a little distance the banks became so high as to preclude all sight of the country. We now and then, however, passed a few houses, and occasionally some bridges. Arrived at


a little before five, and having shewn our passports at the gate, we entered the town to the Lion d'Or, a very elegant hotel, near the Cathedral. In the boat we had paid two francs each for the passage, one for all our luggage, three francs each for dinner, and seven francs between three or four of us for a bottle of Champagne. Several English were in the barge, which brought us to Gand or Ghent. *

Shortly after our arrival we walked into the cathedral church of St. Bouvon, where service was being performed; afterwards took a pleasant walk till dusk through the Place d'Armes, &c., and along the banks of the canal, called la Coupure, which are planted with trees--the banks covered with grass. Returned to the hotel, and supped at the ordinary.

The conversation turning upon the superstition of the Irish, my friend Mr. B. was well nigh offending some of the citizens at table, by observing that the Irish were almost as superstitious as the Belgians.

* It will be recollected that Gand and Anvers are the French names for Gaent and ANTWERP, and the French names are mostly used, because the French language is most generally spoken on the Continent. I have used thein promiscuously.

[blocks in formation]

Tuesday, 10th. -Went out with a laquais-de-place to explore the Churches, &c. During this excursion we went to the PRISON, which is situated on the bank of the canal Coupure. It consists of two triangular courts, one for men and the other for women, who are all made to labour at weaving, spinning or some other occupation to which they may be more accustomed.

This PRISON, at Ghent, contained 984 prisoners, sentenced to different periods of confinement. After passing the Governor's house, we entered the part of the prison allotted to the men. Round the court were galleries containing cells with a single bed for each criminal. The cells were not furnished with windows, the light and air being admitted through perforations in the doors. Behind these galleries were the working rooms, in the first of which we found a number of weavers. The greatest order prevailed. Two persons were employed at each loom, and no one was allowed to speak to any but his comrade, and to him only with regard to their joint occupations. A certain task is allotted to each prisoner : if he exceeds what is prescribed, the surplus produce is his own; if he falls short, or injures the work, confinement is the punishment. A second room contained tailors ; a third workmen of a different description. On entering the Women's court, we found similar arrangements, excepting that the cells are larger, and contain each three beds. In separate apartments we saw the spinners, cotton-beaters, sempstresses and knitters. We next visited the chamber in which the prisoners?

[blocks in formation]

dinner was being prepared. The bread appeared coarse, and was composed (as the turnkey informed us) of three parts of rye and one of wheat. To each prisoner is allotted half a loaf and a large basin of meat soup.

We also passed into the correctional part of the prison, where persons convicted of slight offences are confined and obliged to work during short periods. The regulations of the place allow no person to speak to a prisoner without permission of the commandant, and even then one of the serjeants on duty must be present. U letters to the persons confined are previously read by the commandant. For this minute account of the GHENT Prison, I am indebted to the notes of my intelligent friend and companion Mr. B. A prison of this kind has been recently erected at Millbank, near Lambeth, which, from its plan and regulations, promises to be of service to the country. Neild, a second Howard, and the friend of Lettsom, mentions this prison at Ghent in terms of special commendation.

The first of the churches visited by us was that of St. Michel. The principal pictures were the following.--On the left side of the aisle were two pictures covered with curtains; the one was, the discovery of the Cross ut Constantinople; the two crosses of the Thieves were also found, but the Cross of Christ was distinguished by its causing the miraculous cure of a sick person! It was painted by Paeling, a peasant, The other, the Crucifixion, by Van Dyck, very fine: suitable solemnity prevailed throughout the picture.

[blocks in formation]

On the right side of the church were two pictures corresponding to the two former. The Ascension of the Virgin, by François de Bruxelles, very good; and The Annunciation, by Lens, of Brussels (Master of François). He was seventy-seven years old when he began this picture. Both painted within six or seven years.

We also beheld a fine painting of the Binding of Christ, by Legers, a Jesuit, and pupil of Van Dyck and Rubens.

There are many other pictures in this church worthy of notice. During the REVOLUTION, the French made this church the Temple of the Goddess of Reason and de la Loi, and destroyed most of the altars and a vast number of marble statues, with which the church had been abundantly ornamented. The pictures were all concealed and consequently saved,

The old verger, who had conducted us over the church, had witnessed these ravages, and seemed to relate them with peculiar feeling!

The Cathedral of St. Bouvon was the next object of our curiosity. The interior was elegantly ornamented with columns of black and white marble. The choir, adorned with eleven fine paintings, delicately executed, in fresco, six on one side and five on the other; the place corresponding to the sixth being filled with the Bishop's throne. Van Rysshoet was the painter of these pictures, which are thirty-five years old. The high altar is graced with a statue of St. Bouvon. Near the altar are four elegant tombs to the memory of some of the Bishops of the place.

[blocks in formation]

On the back of the screen, which divides the choir from the northern side-aisle, there is a monument, on which is a portrait in Mosaic work. The face is bad, but the dress, a cloak of ermine, is very well executed, and has the appearance of painting. Several little chapels were situated around the body of the building, each of which contains one or more paintings. The most remarkable of these paintings is one of the Pascal Lamb, the first historical painting in oil, by John Van Eyck (John of Bruges). THE PULPIT appeared a fine piece of sculpture, in marble, representing the Tree in Paradise, the Serpent, Aclam and Eve, &c. There is a church below, which contains nothing very remarkable except the tomb of the last Abbot!

We next visited the Public LIBRARY, which contains a large collection of books. The building was formerly a church, but was made a library by the French during the Revolution. There was here a circular reading desk of curious construction, in which, although the whole moved round on a horizontal pivot, the shelves always retained the same obliquity.

We next proceeded to the Jurdin Botanique. The ground was very pleasantly laid out; adorned with statues in different parts, and busts and trees consecrated to the memory of celebrated botanists.

The following were the most remarkable :

A tree, in a box or square tub, to the memory of Bernard Coppens, first Professor of Botany.


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »