Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

eat rye bread and bacon for dinner, and drink coffee—not tea. And they spend much less in clothes. The girls who come over here selling brooms are often Belgians, and you must have seen their thick short woollen petticoats, knitted jackets and stout shoes, all of which will last out a dozen of the thin, flimsy, faded things which our people fancy make them look well.

The king of Belgium is a Protestant, but the people are chiefly Roman Catholics; however, they live peaceably together on the whole, and few countries are so prosperous as the little kingdom of Belgium.

HOLLAND.

HOLLAND is a small country lying to the north of Belgium. The people who live in it are called Dutch. It is very damp, and for this reason, that a great deal of the land was once under water.

The sea in that part of Europe is very shallow · near the coast; and so the people thought that they could easily get more land by draining off the water, and building earthen walls across the part which was drained to keep the sea from returning. These walls are called dams. If you want to see how this was done, dig a hole in your garden, and fill it with water to make a pond, and then dig a little ditch, and let the water run into it; next make a wall of earth to keep the water from running back. That will be like the Dutch dam. However, although the Dutch are always draining the country to make it as dry as they can, it is still very damp. Every

night a thick mist rises from the ground about the height of a man's knees. When this mist rises higher, high enough to reach people's heads, it makes them ill. There is much ague in Holland, a disease which is caused by damp. The Dutch think that smoking is good for this complaint; so you would seldom see a Dutchman without a cigar or glass pipe—even at a funeral all the mourners have their cigars in their mouths, as they follow the hearse.

The Dutch are very industrious. Now you know that industrious people are usually clean, and so you will not be surprised to hear that Holland is the cleanest country in Europe. The people are always scrubbing and cleaning. You could eat your dinner of the floors, and the copper saucepans and kettles shine like new halfpence. It takes a deal of labour to keep them bright in such a damp place. Sometimes the people take off their boots before going into a house, for fear of making it dirty. There is one village so clean that the inhabitants never go out at their front doors, excepting for a wedding, or a funeral, for fear of dirtying the steps.

The gardens are not very pretty, for the Dutch like straight walks and square flower-beds, which look formal. . Most of our bulbs, hyacinths, tulips, &c., come from Holland. Dutch tulips are especially famous. The Dutch have an ugly trick of cutting their trees and hedges into the shape of birds and beasts.

Little children in Holland work hard, like thcir

parents, and make quantities of toys, which are sent over to England, to be sold. There is a saying that, “ The children of Holland take pleasure in making What the children of England take pleasure in breaking.”

The Dutch look rather old fashioned, not at all unlike Noah and his family in the arks you buy at the toy-shops.

The poor women, and those of the middle-classes, have a curious custom of wearing pieces of gold on each side of their faces, just the shape of the blinkers which horses have.

Food.The Dutch eat meat and fruit cooked together, with a quantity of oil; and very often meat which is not cooked at all, but only smoked.

A good deal of cheese is made in Holland. You have seen little round cheeses, called Dutch cheeses, in the grocers' shops.

Animals. There are very strong, useful horses in Holland, and very good ones. The Dutch are very fond of that awkward, long-legged bird, the stork, which looks like a boy who has outgrown his last suit-long and lanky. But the Dutch like what is useful better than what is pretty; and the storks are useful birds, for they eat frogs. The Dutch hate frogs; not because they are ugly, but because it is supposed that they destroy the dams. So the stork, which gobbles up the frogs, is just as great a favourite in Holland, as the robin-redbreast in England.

Government. The Dutch have a King and Parliament like the English.

in the Sals. There are ones. The ho

Religion.- Protestant.

Language.—The Dutch language is not pretty, but sounds like bad German and broken English.

Chief Towns.Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Can you guess why both these names, and many others in Holland, end in dam ? Because, but for the dam, the towns could not have been built. Amsterdam is the capital of Holland. The first thing you would remark about it, is the quantity of water: the streets are canals; you cannot cross a street, excepting over a bridge. But the first thing you would have to buy would be water to drink, unless you boil and filter some; for though there is so much water in Amsterdam, it is nearly all bad; and bad water is a sort of poison, it causes dreadful illness, very often cholera.

I fancy that the people in Amsterdam do not remember this as they ought, for it is a very unhealthy place. One part is dirty, which they call the Jews' quarter, for there are many Jews in Amsterdam. You would not care to live in this city, although its canal streets, with nearly 300 bridges, make it very pretty, for so much bad water causes dreadful smells.

Rotterdam is like Amsterdam ; but it is a more trading, busy place, very like Liverpool

ITALY.

I THINK that all children would like to go to Italy, at least if they did not mind heat. Italy has bright blue sunny skies, and quantities of fruit. Grapes, oranges, melons, all ripen fast in beautiful hot Italy, which is often called the garden of Europe. This lovely country does not all belong to one king.

The capital city is Rome, and it and the surrounding country belong to the Pope, who is the chief bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Pope used to have a great deal more land than he has now, but it has been gradually lost, and he has now only a little piece left. But then he has the fine city of Rome on the little piece of Italy which still belongs to him.. Rome contains the most beautiful ruins in the world; for, many hundred years ago, the Romans were the most powerful people on the earth. They conquered many distant lands, they built beautiful palaces for themselves and temples for their gods, for they worshipped many false gods.

In some respects the Romans of centuries ago were wiser than the Romans in this the nineteenth century, for they were very fond of washing, as we know by the ruins of beautiful public baths. The Romans, and indeed all the Italians of the present day, do not seem quite as fond of soap and water as might be wished. But besides all these beautiful ruins of palaces and temples and baths, there are splendid buildings in Rome which are not ruins. There is the largest church in the world, called St. Peter's. In Rome also is the splendid palace of the Vatican, where the Pope lives.

The Italians are very fond of amusement; every year, just before Lent, they have what is called a

« AnteriorContinuar »