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from that country to Holland, finding considerable difficulty in understanding the lower people in Arnheim. The inns here are in general very good. This city gave birth to the celebrated David Beck in 1621, a disciple of Vandyke, from whom he imbibed that exquisite style of colouring and penciling which belong to his school. King Charles the First was so astonished at the freedom of his hand, he one day said, "I do believe, Beck, you could paint if you were riding post." The person of this artist was remarkably handsome, and his manners perfectly well bred: these qualities, accompanied with such talents in his art, recommended him to the attention of queen Christina of Sweden, who appointed him her portrait-painter and chamberlain; and under her patronage he painted most of the illustrious persons of Europe. The following singular event occurred to this artist in his tour through Germany. At an inn where he stopped for the night, he was suddenly taken violently ill, to appearance expired, and was accordingly laid out for a corpse. His valets, who were much attached to him, sat by his bed-side, deeply lamenting the loss of so good a master; and, like the Irish upon such occasion, sought consolation in the bottle, which was put about very briskly; at length one of them, who was greatly intoxicated, said to his companions, " Come, my friends, our poor dear master used to be very fond of his glass when alive, suppose, out of gratitude, we give him a bumper now he is dead." To this jovial recommendation the rest of the servants consented. They accordingly raised his head, and the mover of the measure poured some of the wine into his mouth; this produced the immediate effect of forcing him to open his eyes, which, from the excessive drunkenness of the fellow, did not surprise him, and he continued pouring the wine down his master's throat until the glass was emptied, which at last completely recovered him; and by this accidental circumstance he was saved from a premature interment. However, he escaped death in this violent shape only to meet it in another, for it was generally suspected that his final fate was effected by poison administered by some miscreant, hired for the purpose by queen Christina, at the Hague, in revenge for his having quitted her to visit his friends in Holland, with a deter
mination nevér more to visit Sweden. The works of this master are justly held in very high estimation, and he became the favoured object of the most unbounded marks of distinction and honour.
With an exception to large churches, and handsome streets, and some pretty and well dressed women, there is little, at least as far as I could learn, to detain a traveller in this city, so I set off for Wesel with all due expedition, impatient to move upon the bosom of the Rhine.
On the road, which was agreeably diversified, we met several milk-maids, bearing their milk home in large copper vessels, shining very bright, slung to their backs, which had a picturesque effect. About four miles from Arnheim, just after passing a bridge of boats at Sevenhal, I entered a small town, at the end of which is the first barrier of the new territories of prince Joachim, grandadmiral of France and duke of Berg, a piece of history which I first learned from a new ordinance or law, in German and French, to regulate the safe delivery of letters, pasted upon one of the gates of the town. In this dutchy most of the peasants are catholics, who make a public avowal of their faith by painting a large white cross on the outside of their houses. On the left, within a short distance of the frontier of prince Joachim's territory, upon the summit of a mountain, are two large religious houses for monks and nuns. A little indisposition, in addition to the heat of a very sultry day, prevented me from quitting the carriage to visit the holy fraternity and sisterhood, of whom, I was informed, very few members remain, and those far advanced in life. The revolution of France, and the progress of the French arms, have at least the merit of having prevented the immolation of many a lovely young creature, possessed of every personal and mental charm to gladden this chequered life of ours.
Thrice blessed they that master so their blood
Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I. Scene 1.
The approach to these convents from the town is by a pleasant avenue of trees, their situation must be very agreeable, from the extensive prospect which they command. On our right the spires of the city of Cleves, on the French side of the Rhine appeared, and produced a very pleasing effect. Upon turning the base of the hill on which the monastic mansions stand, we entered upon a deep sandy road, and a very flat and uninteresting country, in which very few objects occurred to afford any gratification to the eye. The Rhine occasionally appeared, but not to much advantage: the majesty of its breadth is obscured by the great number of islands upon it in this stage of its descent. Flink, whom I have mentioned in describing the Stadthouse at Amsterdam, was born at Cleves in 1616. This able artist was destined, like our celebrated Garrick, for the bureau of a compting-house; but his genius and passion for painting overcame all the impediments placed in their way by paternal authority, and the persuasions of friends, and he renounced the prospect of accumulating immense riches by commerce, for the glory of the art. He made great progress under Rembrandt, whose style he imitated to perfection; he soon rose to distinguished reputation, and was employed to paint the portraits of princes and illustrious personages of the times in which he flourished; he died very young and much regretted.
After a tedious and unpleasant journey I reached Wesel, a large, gloomy, and very strongly fortified town: as the gates had been closed at eight o'clock, and it struck eleven as I passed the last draw-bridge, it was with some difficulty and delay that I was admitted. Only persons travelling extra-post and in the postwaggon, or diligence, are admitted after the gates are once shut. This place presents a disgusting contrast to the neatness and cleanliness of the towns in Holland. The moment I passed the gates, a most offensive mauvais odeur assailed my nose on all sides. There is only one tolerable inn in the whole place, and that is generally very crowded. If the traveller cannot be accommodated there, he will be marched, as I was, to a pig-stye, or a house of ease to the former, where he may meditate at leisure on the sapient poetical advice of Shakspeare:
Cease to lament for what thou canst not help.
Here, according to a regulation which prevails in every part of Germany, I was annoyed by being presented with a printed paper, containing several columns, titled as follow:
Where came you from.
Where going to.
How long you intend to stay.
All of which I duly answered in writing, except the last interrogatory but one, namely, "where are you going?" under which I peevishly wrote, "to sleep," consolidated into one word, in large close letters. To an Englishman unaccustomed to such examinations, which after all are little more than formal, although every innkeeper by law is obliged to make such report of every traveller on his arrival, they are very liable to excite an inverted blessing upon the heads of those who trouble him in this manner.
Wesel is an abominable dunghill, very strongly fortified. In the course of my perambulations through the town, the objects which I met with were infinitely more offensive to the sense of smelling than gratifying to that of seeing, and doubly disgusting from the contrast of exquisite cleanliness which the country I had just quitted, exhibited. This part of Westphalia is very flat, barren, sandy, and dreary, presenting little more than thin patches of buckwheat. The roads are very heavy, and with an exception to an oratory in a little grove, and three wooden effigies as large as life, representing the crucifixion, not one enlivening or interesting object presented itself. I mention the following travelling anecdote by way of caution to my reader, should he select this route. At Dinslaken, one of the post towns between Wesel and Dusseldorf, the post-master told me that two horses would not be sufficient in such roads for the carriage, and declared his determination, that unless I took three, I should have none. If I had submitted to this imposition here, I must have done so throughout; I was
therefore obliged to compound with this extortioner in office, by paying half of a third horse, which sum went into his pocket, and pursued my route with a couple, who conducted me in very good style to the next post town. In every part of Germany the postmasters are appointed by, and are under the control of the reigning prince of Turn and Saxis, the hereditary director and postmaster general of the roads in that part of Europe. My driver stopped to give his horses some wretched hard bread, used by the peasantry in Westphalia, composed of straw and oats, called bonpournikel from the following circumstance. Many years since a Frenchman, travelling in this country, called for bread for himself, and upon this sort being presented, he exclaimed, C'est bon pour Nikel (the name of his horse); upon which the old woman who had brought it in ran about the village in a great pet relating the story.
As I was proceeding by moon-light, a German gentleman who had travelled some way with me was observing, that throughout Westphalia a robbery upon the highway had not been known for many years, and that a traveller was as safe in the night as in the day; and at the moment when he had just finished an animated eulogium upon the invincible honesty of the people, I happened to observe the shadow of a man behind the cabriolet, the head of which was raised, apparently very busy in endeavouring to cut off our trunks, which, upon our jumping out, proved to be the case; the fellow was much alarmed by our appearance, fell upon his knees, and declared that he belonged to Dusseldorf, and poverty had prompted him to quit that city, and try his fortune on the highway. Nothing could exceed the indignation of the German the moment he knew that our prisoner was a Westphalian; had he fortunately announced himself as a native of any other country, I believe he would have rather relieved the fellow's distress, than pierced his ears, and perhaps his heart, with the bitter reproaches he heaped upon him: however, as the affair furnished me with a hearty laugh, I prevailed upon my companion to forgive the poor wretch, whose face and clothes indicated extreme wretchedness, and permit him to depart in peace; and we proceeded without