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THE COINS.....PRACTICE OF VAILS-GIVING IN HOLLAND.....PRUIT
AND VEGETABLE SELLERS.....DUTCH PASSION FOR SCRUBBING
AND MOPPING ....WHIMSICAL SARCASM OF A TRAVELLER....SIN
OFFERED TO A CHAMBER-MAID.....DUTCH
PRINTS OF LORD NELSON....TREATMENT OF OUR COUNTRYMEN
AT VERDUN.....DUTCH COMPARED WITH THE CHINESE.....PRI
VATE COLLECTIONS OF PAINTINGS....BRIEF ANECDOTE OF THB
VANDERWERFS.... REMARKS ON DUTCH AND FLEMISH SCHOOLS....
DORPT..... ANECDOTES OF DISTINGUISHED PERSONS THERE....
ANECDOTE OF COWPER....INTERPOSITION OF PROVIDENCE.
IT is with great reluctance I approach the subject of the currency of Holland, but as I hope to be read by some one who may hereafter visit that country, as much a stranger as I was to it, it is fit that I should not omit it; and I hereby apprize all my chairtravelling readers of my intention, that they may leap over my table of coins if they choose so to do.
A doyt. Worth about half a farthing.
not in every part of Holland, considered equal to a shilling
This coin resembles a silver penny. Dubbeltje, or two stiver piece. This coin is very convenient small
change. A quarter guilder, or five stiver piece. This coin, I am told, is
very rare; I met with none of it. A zesthalven, or five stivers and four doyts. This is a piece of
base metal, and equal to an English six-pence; it is very convenient for an English traveller, on account of its precise value being known.
Schellingen, of various kinds, the size of which determines the
value, unless they are stamped. Six and a half stiver piece. A silver piece, little larger than a six
pence, and the eighth part of a rix-dollar. Eight stiver piece. A larger, but thinner piece than a schellingen,
not much in circulation. Ten stiver piece. Worth half a guilder, very scarce. Twelve and a half stiver piece. Not much in use. Thirteen stiver piece. A Zealand coin, and much in circulation. A guilder or florin, or twenty stiver piece. The legitimate coin of
Holland, by which they calculate, and is the best silver. Twenty-four stiver piece, or half a rix-dollar. Twenty-six stiver piece. Twenty-eight stiver piece. There are many sorts of this in Hol
land: it is usual to receive five in a lot, each of which is equal
to seven guilders. Thirty stiver piece, or dollar. Of the value of half a crown English,
and about that size. Thirty-one and a half stiver piece, or half a ducatoon. They are
Forty stiver piece, or two guilder piece. Not common.
in Amsterdam, and several other places, they will not pass for
more than 50 or 51 stivers. In Zealand they are worth 53. Sixty stiver piece, called a three guilder piece. Much in use. Sixty-three stiver piece, or ducatoon. Coined when the Spaniards
were in the country.
GOLD COINS. A ducat. A beautiful coin, of the purest fine gold. The Jews and the
brokers generally deal in this coin, for which they receive two or three stivers profit on each. It is thin, and remarkably pleasant to the touch; and as a proof of its purity, it will bear to be frequently bent, without breaking. Upon almost every part of the continent this coin bears a premium, and is current throughout Europe.
A double ducat is ten guilders ten stivers.
I would recommend the traveller to carry with him a sufficient number of guineas for his return to England, as they are scarce and very dear; for twelve guineas I paid an exchange of 35-4 agio 104 on 145, or 131. 48. 6d.
No alteration has taken place in the legends of the coins of Holland. Since the revolution there has been a copiouş silver coinage, but the florin has remained the same for more than a century. The old calendar is adhered to, with the slight alterations rendered necessary by a change in the name and spirit of the government.
The practice of vails-giving still continues in Holland. Previous to my going to dine with some acquaintances which I made at Rotterdam, I was particularly reminded by a friend who knew the habits of the country, not to forget to carry a few florins with me, as the servant who opened the door, upon my quitting the house, would expect either one or two of those pieces. This abominably mean practice existed in England in a higher degree, and still continues in part in the shape of card money.
If I remember correctly, we are indebted to Mr. Hanway the philanthropist, whose life is given in a very entertaining manner by his pupil and protégé, Mr. Pugh, for the abolition of giving vails to servants; previous to which, a gentleman of moderate income could scarcely afford to dine with an opulent and fashionable friend.
In houses of great resort in Holland, servants are in the habits of purchasing their places of their masters free of wages, solely for the douceurs which custom rigidly exacts from the visitor. At one table a friend of mine, a thoughtless Englishman, was reminded of his having forgotten the usage, by having a quantity of şoup poured over his new coat by accidental design.
In the streets I was much gratified by seeing the fruit and vegetable sellers: the fruit was abundant, very fresh, and fine, and such as is usually to be found at the same season in England: the vegetables are remarkably excellent, and are submitted to the eye in the cleanest and most attractive manner. The Dutch potatoes are small and uncommonly good; I think they are, if possible, superior to those of Ireland.
The proximity of the houses to the canals enables, the Dutch. women to indulge to the full extent of their wishes, in scrubbing and mopping their passages and rooms, which they do from the first to the last blush of day; indeed, cleanliness in their houses is carried to a painful excess. All the strong features of an English Saturday evening, viz. mops, pails, scrubbing-brushes, dusters, fullers' earth, are in active use every hour of the day, in Holland ; and a little hand garden-engine is in perpetual requisition, for washing the outside of the windows.
But the aqua-terrene nymphs to whose hands these right useful instruments are committed, appear to be so solicitous of re- . moving every feculent impression of the foot in their white-tiled halls, of giving a brilliant polish to the brass knockers, and of preserving the furniture of the rooms unsullied, that they frequently neglect to purify their own persons; the charms of which are to be often seen mingled with, if not obscured by, the accretions of long neglect and inattention.
Some travellers have extended similar remarks to the higher classes of the female sex, but unquestionably with more spleen than truth.
I had the honour of being acquainted with many Dutch ladies of respectability, and found them to be very neat in their persons, but my first remark too powerfully applies to the lower orders of the sex: they have no leisure to attend to themselves: to them, with a little transposition of the sentiment, may be applied the facetious lines that described a once celebrated opposition financier.
“ It is said that his thoughts have been so long directed
I remember while at Amsterdam a servant was very angry because I would not suffer her to wash my bedroom every day. It might be supposed that in a climate which must be naturally very humid, the natives would prefer having dry rooms as long as possible.
Upon some of the canals I saw Rhine boats of extraordinary dimensions; they were principally laden with hardware, and their owners and families resided wholly on board, in a suite of cabins, generally raised upon the deck, which, in point of commodious arrangement, of neatness and comfort, cannot easily be surpassed on shore. Upon the fore and aft part of the deck their ware is exposed to sale, and below are prodigious depots of the same articles. These vessels are frequently six months in their voyage up and down the Rhine, in consequence of their stopping at those cities or towns situated on its banks, where the owners are likely to have a market for their merchandize.
The reader will be surprised to hear that in several shops I saw many prints of our illustrious Nelson, in which the artist, in order to prevent the beholder from doubting that he had lost the sight of one eye in the service of his country, had the optic completely removed from its socket, and left a large frightful hole, for the purpose of illustrating this part of his heroic history.
At an excellent table d'hote, at the Mareschal de Turenne, I had the happiness of meeting several of my countrymen, who were returning to England after a long and most unjust detention at Verdun; from them I learned that specie was abundant in France, and that Napoleon scarcely admitted any paper to be in circulation; that the roads were no longer farmed, but by the aid of a small additional duty on salt, were put into the finest condition, and that no toll whatever was taken in any part of the empire. They said, that in point of restriction, they were not rigidly treated, but that there were no bounds to the rapacity of those appointed to look after them, particular of the gens d'armes.
The collections of paintings in Rotterdam are not numerous, but very select: perhaps no people upon the face of the earth ever displayed a more inveterate and immoveable attachment to every