« AnteriorContinuar »
to select for his gallery was unequal to his office, and left some excellent works behind him, which, upon “ a second “ shaking of the tree” by another and more able inspector, were collected, and sent off to that collossal collector of works of art. Amongst several landscapes by Vernet was the finest he ever painted, the subject, the waterfall of Tivoli. It is a curious circumstance that there is not one fine private collection at the Hague.
I was much delighted with the Voorhout, considered the principal street, in which are many elegant and classical buildings, forming complete contrasts to the leaning, mercantile structures of Rotterdam. In this street the most elegant houses 'were those which formerly belonged to the Prince Wielburgh, who married the last Prince of Orange's sister, and to the French embassador, formerly occupied by the British minister: but the most beautiful part of the Hague is the Vyverburg; it is a vast oblong square, adorned with a noble walk or mall, strewed with broken shells, and shaded by avenues of trees on one side, and on the other by the palace, and a large basin of water called the Vyver, almost a quarter of a mile in length, variegated by an island of poplars in its center. This mall is the place of fashionable resort, and, on the evening of the day I saw it, was adorned with several groupes of lovely women attired in the French fashion,
LADY W. MONTAGU.
155 which generally prevails amongst the genteel families in Holland. Besides these there are many other very noble ones, and all remarkably clean, but the canals are almost all of them green and stagnant, and at this season emitted an unpleasant effluvia. Here, as in many cities in France, the armorial ensigns of distinguished families, which used to dignify the front of their dwellings, have been cut away, and many a shield remains despoiled of its quarterings. Some of them, since the new order of things has occurred, have been restored. In a square planted on all sides with trees the parade is held.
As Lady Wortley Montagu, in her accustomed sprightliness of style, has mentioned with some appearance of disgust, the white fishy faces of the Dutch women, I beg to observe, that at the Hague I saw several very pretty females : in general they possessed a transparent delicacy of countenance, but as generally wanted expression. An English gentleman who had just returned from Italy, where he had been accustomed for several years to the warm voluptuous brunettes of that beautiful country, was uncommonly delighted with the fair faces of the Dutch ladies; but female beauty does not begin to expand itself till after the imprisonment and regimen of the nursery are past. Pretty and healthy children are rarely to be seen in Holland : in general they look pale and squalid, owing
to an abominable system followed in rearing them; they are accustomed for the first two or three months to respire the atmosphere of a room, the windows of which are never opened to receive the freshness of the morning air; to wash them with refreshing cold water would be considered as certain infanticide; the miserable infant is swathed round with flannel rollers, until it becomes as motionless as a mummy; and over these ligatures there is always a vast flannel wrapper folded three or four times round the body, and fastened at the bottom of its feet: afterwards for many months it is loaded with woollen garments, and when at length it is permitted to try for what purpose legs were originally constructed, it is cased in an additional wrapping of flannel, to prevent the dreaded consequences of freely inhaling the salubrious air.
· As it was summer, I can only speak from information of an equally vile and destructive custom, which obtains in the winter, of suffering the children to sit over the chauffepies or stoves, which frequently supplants the ruddy tints of health by a white parboiled appearance. I saw several of these chauffepies, from which the little pots that in cold weather contain the burning turf, had been withdrawn, used by the ladies as footstools. Whilst the men warm themselves with the smoke of tobacco from above, the ladies, to recompence themselves for not using that indul