Chapter XI. Holland.

Early on Tuesday morning (August 10th) I started on "a run through Holland."

The Meuse and the Rhine form numerous mouths, and their deltas are low and marshy. A most magnificent bridge crosses these, which is several (three?) miles in length. Fourteen immense iron arches are required to span one of the mouths of the Rhine. Much of the land is lower than the ocean, and a great conflict is waged between the Hollanders and the Sea, for the possession of the land. It is a strange sight to see vessels sail along the embankments higher than the chimney tops of the houses along the shore! Watchmen are stationed along these embankments and when the ocean breaks a leak, they will ring the alarm bells and every body will arm himself with a spade or shovel and run to the sea-shore to battle with the water. Thus have these people defended their property against the encroachments of the sea for many centuries.

A great part of Holland is as level as the ocean, and there are neither fences nor hedges to be seen. But ditches surround every little field and lot, and innumerable wind-mills pump the water that gathers into these ditches, up into canals, which intersect the country like a net-work, and conduct the water to the sea. Extensive meadows and rich pasture land support large, herds of fine cattle and sheep, which constitute the wealth of Flemish industry.

These Hollanders have some very curious styles of dress, and, like the Swiss, still wear their ancient costumes, even after the rest of Europe have adopted the fashions of Paris. In the larger towns and cities, however, the tide of revolution has set in and the young belles and beaux have commenced to "sail in Paris styles." A few years more, and the traditional costumes of the Flanders will have disappeared altogether.

The men are very partial to "burnsides" and wear their hair pretty long, combed wet and stroked down so as to look smooth and glossy. The old women, in place of ear-rings, wear ornaments in the form of immense spirals suspended from the ends of half of a brass hoop that passes around their heads below their white caps. These hang down over the cheeks and are almost as long as their faces. Some of the young ladies coming in from the rural districts, carry a head rigging - I do not know what else to call it, for it is neither bonnet, hat, nor cap, nor any combination of these; but it is an apparatus for the head that baffles description, and which, for want of a better name, we must call a tremendous thing, both in magnitude and in design! I have seen women with straw hats that must have been well nigh a yard in diameter! In The Hague, I saw little girls, however, (from 6 to 12 or 15 years of age) that were dressed as tidily and looked as fair and as sweet as any of our American school-girls.

Public Highways.

In Holland, these are highways in fact as well as in name. They run in perfectly strait lines through the country, are about a yard higher than the meadows at their sides, and are lined by thick rows of willow-trees. They are turnpiked of course, as are all the roads in civilized Europe. From these roads the traveler has always the same field of vision - a circle around him that is about 8 to 5 miles in diameter. Towering spires may be seen in all directions. I visited Dordrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Arnheim and intermediate places.

The Hague,

In Dutch 'S Gravenhage or 'S Hage, in French La Haye, is the capital of Holland as well as one of its finest towns. "It was originally a hunting seat of the Counts of Holland (whence its name, 'S Graven Hage, 'the Count's enclosure')." - Hurd and Houghton's Satchel Guide to Europe.

The supreme attraction, is the museum rich im the best paintings of the Dutch school. "Here is Paul Potter's world renowned 'Bull,' alone worth, a trip to Holland to see." This famous picture represents a rural scene. A ram, a ewe, a lamb, a bull and a cow are gathered together under an old tree, and the old farmer, standing somehow behind the tree, taking a look at them. It is so perfectly true to nature that one can hardly persuade himself that the living animals are not before him. The pictures known as Rembrandt's "School of Anatomy" are also as deservedly famous. What ever the criticism of one who is no artist may be worth, it is my opinion that Rubens's paintings and some of those in this museum, are the truest to nature of all that I have seen in Europe. Raphael's paintings in Rome are shady in comparison to those of the Dutch school.

Tuesday, August 10th, 4:21 p.m. Leave The Hague for Amsterdam, where I arrived at 7:30 p.m., having passed Haarlem at 6:45 p.m. At 8 o'clock, as I sat on the platform of the Oosterspoorweg Station, the bells of three different towers commenced simultaneously to chime their peals and that too with mathematical precision. The exactness with which the clocks in the clock-towers of Europe keep time is remarkable; and the music of the pealing bells is beautiful, when numbers of them chime at the same time.

At Amsterdam I was asked for my passport, I told the "blue coats" that I had it in my satchel, "You should have it with you," said the German-speaking official. I replied that I had not been aware of that; and as I had not been asked for it either in England, France or Belgium, I had placed it into my satchel, so as not to wear it out in my pockets. I sent the porter to fetch my satchel, took the passport from it, and, after having shown it to the officials, placed it into my pocket again, so that I might have it ready in any emergency. These officers were very accommodating to me afterwards, however, during the time that I waited for the next train for Utrecht. After having had quite a social chat with them, I asked them what they would have done with me if I could not have produced them a passport from the government of my country. "Well," said one of them, "we would have been obliged to subject you to an examination, and if your answers would have satisfied the committee, you would have been allowed to pass on."

Cloak-Rooms.

In connection with the railway stations, wherever I traveled in Europe, there are "cloak-rooms," in which the baggage of the travelers is stored away. It costs 1 to 2 cents to have a package, parcel, umbrella or satchel deposited into one of these, and then the depositor receives a receipt or check for his luggage, which he must present when he wishes to have it again. But Holland offers none of these excellent accommodations, else I would have spent a day more among these Flanders. When I came to Amsterdam, I was immediately assailed by a herd of porters, each anxious to take my satchel into charge. It had been my rule to carry it to the cloak-room myself, but here I could not find one! After a vehement struggle with the fierce porters, one of them who could say "Yes," in German, and who nodded his head when I asked him whether he would take it to a cloak-room, took it and carried it into the station, a distance of about fifty feet. But they kept no cloak-room as I observed when it was not placed into a special apartment for the purpose. It did not seem homelike at all to me, so I asked the agent whether he would give me a receipt for it. "Yes, if you satisfy the porter, I will," he answered. This reply made me more tired of Amsterdam than anything else, for, thought I, if the agent of the would-be "cloak-room" is a party to such a set of fellows, I must indeed have fallen into pretty bad company. I offered the porter 4 cents, which was twice as much as it cost me in other cities to have my satchel cared for a whole day, but he refused to take it. Being unwilling to become the victim of their extortions, I took my satchel and carried it (almost three fourths of a mile) through town to the Oosterspoorweg on the other side of the city. There I obtained good accommodations. I had asked for lodging while coming through the city, but could not suit myself; so I decided to start that evening with the first train for Utrecht. How different was the social atmosphere of the Oosterspoorweg Station! Not only were the porters and the officers civil, but there was an excellent restaurant connected with it, and the waiting-girls of the coffee-room were tidily dressed in French costume, spoke German, and were social, polite and accommodating.

At 9:30, I left by train for Utrecht, which I reached at 10:35 p.m. The station was a new and spacious one and the accommodations were again like those which I had been accustomed to, before I saw Holland; so I felt quite at home again.

Utrecht.

It is entirely wrong for the tourist to come into a strange city late at night, but I could not avoid it this time on account of my sudden determination in Amsterdam not to spend the night there, as had been my intention. A clever and kind-hearted gentleman accompanied me through comparatively dark streets, and found a good hotel for me.

The next forenoon I ascended the high tower (469 steps, 321 feet in height). In this tower, at the height of 124 steps, lives the lady custodian of this stupendous building. She must have "high times" up there! The tower is a large square structure affording plenty of room even for several families; but I was thinking that she must have quite a time of it carrying up her water and all the numerous other things necessary to house-keeping.

The view from the top of the tower takes in the greater part of Holland. The country all around is quite level, as far as the eye can see. Level, in Holland, means level. Here one sees the innumerable wind-mills, and the labyrinthic net-work of canals which intersect Holland. An almost boundless expanse of meadow land stretches out in every direction, and affords excellent pasture to the lowing herds that roam upon it. One sees but a few scattered trees, and several small woods, all the rest is clear and bear - no hedge-fences even to interrupt the dull monotony of the scene below. A strong wind, and it was high too, whistled around that lofty tower, reminding me of our winter storms when they whistle over the chimney-tops - a music that often makes melancholy hearts home-sick.

It was exactly 12:00 o'clock, and I was in the middle of the sentence, "How beautiful these bells chime," when a boy motioned me to come quickly to a certain place where I could see the cylinder revolve which communicates with the peal of bells.

Two points of lightning-rods crown this tower. Few lightning-rods are to be seen upon private buildings, in Europe, but upon public buildings they are occasionally met with.

I must not leave Holland without once more referring to the rattling of the wooden shoes upon the pavements, the red artificial flowers which old gray-headed women wear upon their heads and the gaudy colors of some of their dresses; also to the universal custom of carrying everything upon their heads.

The denominations of Dutch money are florins or guldins, and cents; 100 cents equal one florin. The florin is equal to 40 cents in United States money.

At 12:38 p.m., I left by train for Cologne, Germany. By 1:00 o'clock we entered a desolate section of country consisting of barren sandy soil, scanty crops, and dwarfish shrubs and trees. On our way, I formed the acquaintance of an elderly gentleman who moved from Holland to this country nineteen years ago. This gentleman explained to me the agricultural institutions of Holland. He now lives in new Holland, Ottowa Co., Michigan, a town of 3,000 inhabitants, most of which are natives of Holland. There are about 15,000 more of his native countrymen living in the neighborhood of new Holland and at Grand Rapids. They have a newspaper published in their language in this country. At 2:25 we reached Arnheim where my Dutch friend left me.

At Zeevenaar (near the boundary between Holland and Germany) we passed muster. Soon after we crossed the Rhine on a ferry, which carried us and the whole trains of cars over together. Thence we rode through Rhenish Prussia on, on, until we reached Cologne.