« PreviousContinue »
which cast their illumination far and wide, soon brought all the faithful of the Fink party together. There was abundant cause of gratulation. They shook the hand of the member elect almost off, and lifting him up, bore him on their shoulders in a sort of triumph. Oh ! how sweet was the victory to Mr. Silas Roe! Now were the ardent dreams, in which he had so long indulged, fulfilled; and he should find a field for those faculties which he had exercised so successfully on the stump.
But neither did the joy of his constituents know any bounds. Wild shouts mingled with the noise of the cannon.
Wild Harry hastened to charge it again. A startling explosion followed. The white smoke rolled up like a scroll in the clear moon light. "Huzza!' shouted the mob ; · Huzza! huzza ! huzza.' A deep groan proceeded from the earth. A torch, snatched from the fire, and waved over the spot, revealed a most horrid spectacle. There lay Wild Harry, blackened and mangled, and weliering in his blood. Oh! my God! I am killed !'he ejaculated, writhing in intense misery; my poor wife — my children!'
They lifted him from the earth, and bore him into a neighboring house. Then, forming a litter, they prepared to carry him, all mangled as he was, to his own home; to a wife who awaited his return with solicitude, and to a family who depended upon him for bread.
The night was not far advanced, and they soon arrived at his cottage. It stood alone, in a solitary lane, and a light shone in the casement. The door opened to receive them, and they passed in, and laid down their burden. An unconscious infant slumbered in its cradle. The children broke out into shrill lamentations. But the wife received them with an absence of surprise, as if her heavy heart bad forboded something. To her it could not be matter of astonishment that Wild Harry should come to a violent death. Pale and ghastly, she maintained a cool self-possession, and gazed at him with the fixedness of despair. She rendered the little assistance which she could, but it was of no use. A few deep-drawn sighs, a few groans, a few ejaculations over an ill-spent life, and the wounded man had ceased to breathe. He lay in his own house, a blackened corse; and the companions who had gone forth rejoicing with him in the morning, at midnight were called to lay him in the habiliments of the grave. For aught I know, it might have caused them to pause in their career of wickedness, and their faces might have revealed the workings of an impressive lesson; but for her, the wife of his bosom, as the dim light flickered over her wan countenance, it did not betray the course of a single tear. Tears are the outlet of a gentle sorrow, but they make a mock at mighty grief. There are times when the eyes cannot weep, and when the heart, if we may so speak, is too full to overflow. For it holds all its own grief, convulsing the frame with an oppressive heaviness, and will not know the alleviation of a tear. But nature bringeth her own balm on the morrow, letting the pent-up floods find egress, and softening into melancholy the dumb statue of despair.
At the head-quarters of the opposite faction, twelve committeemen sat together in a room. Their cigars were almost out; they were mum, and chewing the cud of sober reflection. They looked
as drooping and disconsolate as the tail of a barn-yard cock, when the starch is out. Suddenly the door was thrown open, and a messenger revealed the sad tidings.
What! shouted they, in a breath. • Wild Harry has been blown to pieces with the brass fieldpiece!
* Poor fellow !' they ejaculated, with instinctive commiseration. After gathering all the particulars of the sad accident, the committeemen threw down the stumps of their cigars, and as the night was somewhat advanced, retired to their own homes, commiserating the unhappy man, as they went, but qualifying their pity with the passing remark, that he might better have been attending to his own business, a d
d sight !'
'I came from o'er the glittering seas,
With dewy fragrance fraught;
A witching tone I caught;
I brought a fragrant breath,
The hidden plague of death.'
The night-bird sings her strain,
Upon my ear again;
Glad sounds from land or sea,
We sang an old song, as with garlands we crowned her,
And each left a kiss on her delicate brow;
And the future of life be unclouded as now !
There is no place in Holland, which presents a more beautiful and imposing object to the eye, than Rotterdam, when approached from the Maas. Every stranger is greatly struck by the delightful spectacle it affords. This effect is owing, in no small measure, to the appearance of the broad quay, or marginal street, along the Maas, planted with rows of high trees, from which it derives the well-known name of Boompjes. Large sightly edifices stand upon one side of this long and spacious street, all facing the water; while along the quay lie the numerous merchant-ships, which here discharge their cargoes, moored to a row of upright piles, forming a kind of palisade in front of the mole, to protect this from injury. Rising between the masts of the shipping, and the magazines and houses opposite them, are the thick verdant trees, that blend and contrast with surrounding objects ; and beyond the whole, the great mass of buildings, composing a populous and extensive city. Such is the charming coup d'æil which greets the traveller on his arrival at Rotterdam from the sea.
Rotterdam is situated at the junction of the small river Rotte with the Maas, having been originally, as its name imports, the dam of the Rotte. It is in the form of a triangle, nearly equilateral, with its base resting on the Maas, and its apex being near where the Rotte enters the city, at the gate of Delft. Water from the Rotte and other sources is carried into canals, which constitute the two legs of the triangle, or sides of the city; and while many smaller canals pervade other parts of it, several irregular canals, of a larger size, admitting very considerable vessels, and bearing the name of havens, such as Leavehaven, Wynhaven, Oudehaven, and others, run up into the city from the side of the Maas. In these canals the water circulates freely, by means of the rise and fall of the tide in the river, which carries off all impurity, and renders the air of the city more salubrious than is usual in Holland. Handsome quays are constructed along these canals, and ornamented with rows of lime trees or elms, which fill the city with shade and verdure; while numerous bridges form communications from street to street. Some of these are wooden drawbridges, and are entirely raised for the passage of vessels; others are built of stone, with a small draw at the centre, for the same purpose. Some of the havens, where bridges would be inconvenient, are crossed at suitable places by ferry-boats, for a very trifling fare. Running along the middle of the city, from east to west, is the Hoogstraat, or High-street, supposed to be the ridge or dyke from which the city originally derived its name. Between this and the Maas are the • havens,' and the streets and dwellings of more modern construction, a large part of the territory on which they stand having been taken from the Maas, as the population and commerce of the city increased. Even now, accessions are continually making to the land on this side, by diking out the waters of the Maas.
There is great difference in the general style of building, between houses on the side of the Maas, and those farther into the heart of the city, and beyond the Hoogstraat, the latter being more antiquated and more purely Dutch, in all particulars. The streets are every where neatly paved with paving stones, having side-walks of brick. Along the Boompjes, and other large quays, are many of the best and most stately houses, some of which serve the double purpose of dwellings above, and of magazines on the ground floors. In this quarter of the city, there is so much uniformity in the general appearance of the streets, as to render it quite embarrassing to a stranger, particularly as the names of the streets are no where conspicuous. Neither the houses, nor the magazines and shops, are equal in general beauty to the same class of buildings in the principal cities of the United States. You see in the shops none of that external decoration, still less that rich display of goods, which is so customary here. You seldom see large, well-painted shop-signs over the doors; and where I noticed any ornament, it was generally of a grotesque description. Thus an uncouth wooden bust, with distorted eyes, and tongue lolled out at one side of the mouth, is not unfrequently used to designate an apothecary's shop. There is no street like Broadway, in New-York; and although, in the rows of sightly trees along the canal streets, there is much to gratify the eye, yet the pleasing effect is greatly diminished by the tameness of all the waterviews, and the clay-colored, muddy look of the Maas, and all its havens, as compared with the clear blue of our own bright streams. And yet the water of the Maas is the only water employed for drink and domestic uses; previous to which, it requires to be filtered, and then answers the purpose very well, except that it is somewhat laxative, and requires to be drank with moderation.
It is impossible to refer the houses to any order of architecture, for to this indeed they do not pretend. They are built of very small, badly-formed bricks, neither of a uniform nor a clear color. Many
of them project forward as they ascend; and most of them are lofty and narrow, running up to a great height, and having peaked roofs, which are made into curved or fanciful slopes, instead of forming an exact angle. As they are not united into blocks having a regular front, and subdivided into uniform tenements, but each tenement has its own peculiar configuration, without any correspondence with, or reference to, the contiguous tenements, the effect on the eye is very singular and fantastic; giving to each dwelling an appearance of excessive height, in proportion to its breadth upon the ground; and rendering the strange form of the roofs more conspicuous. In the older parts of the city, they have an air of antiquity, also, partly de. rived from the heavy carving on the doors, which is quite in keeping with the other peculiarities in their architecture. Not the least curious thing about them, is a contrivance for the gratification of female curiosity, attached to the side of the large front windows of most of the houses. This consists of a small mirror, generally a plain looking-glass, of an oval or a quadrangular form, so placed, that the lady sitting at her needle-work within, can see the passers by reflected in the mirror, without rising or exposing her own person to view. I observed this characteristic appendage of the parlor occasionally at Hellevoetsluys; but still more generally at Rotterdam, Sometimes it is in the form of a prism, so as to reflect on two sides ; and thus perform a double duty. Very many of the windows are also adorned with beautiful plants, in tasteful flower-pots, which in some measure atone for the defect of the ungainly convenience by their side. Indeed a taste for flowers leads to their being offered for sale in all the streets, and forms as marked a feature of manners in Rotterdam, as in other parts of Holland.
I have thrown together here these remarks upon the general appearance of the city, although most of them were the result of subsequent observation.
many little arrangements must be made, when a traveller first lands in a foreign city, before he is prepared to commence his examination of what it contains. These are no otherwise of interest, than as they may happen to afford information concerning the country.
I took lodgings at one of the excellent hotels on the Boompjes, which, from their superiority to the other hotels of the city, as well as from their locality, are naturally the resort of strangers. French is, of course, the language of ordinary communication at these hotels, although not unfrequently it occurs, that English may be spoken by the landlo:d, or some of the servants. The large, heavy sashes, the enormous panes of glass, the wainscotting of the rooms, formed of large oaken pannels, every thing, in short, which met the eye, bespoke a foreign country. My apartment looked out upon the Maas, and offered to my view the lively scene of the river, and of the Boompjes along its bank. Sailors were singing in chorus on board the vessels, as they worked at the windlass or capstan, discharging merchandise upon the mole. Small drays or sleds passed along, loaded with heavy bales or casks, transported in this way, to guard against the damage which the jarring of cars and wagons might occasion to a city reclaimed by human art from the water. In the thick foliage of the trees along the quay, were flocks of crows, that live on the