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their feet doubled under them. They are
chewing the cud, to give the grass a short
respite, and to allow it a little time to grow
in peace. The homesteads are overtopped by
clumps of poplars, whose young and maidenly
leaves blush ruddy pink at the touch of the
sunbeam. On the skirts of the forest are
prudent oaks, who are waiting till the blackthorn
winter is over, before they put on their
summer fashions. Along the road which
crosses our railway come Flemish wagons,
like triumphal cars in the processions of
Ceres, and not of Bacchus, but of the twin
gods Baccy and Beer. And so we rush over
a flat fertile land, till we pass Roubaix, a
wilderness of bricks and mortar. Tourcoing
also, and ditto; both very rural in their
aspect for manufacturing towns, and with
atmospheres that Bradford and Leeds might
envy. At Mouscron, we are safely over the
border. The custom-house officers, I suppose,
are ordered to ascertain whether new arrivals
are personally cleanly in their habits; for, as
soon as they have inspected my oiled-silk
sponge-bag, my comb, and my bit of soap
(which latter they don't supply you with at
Inns), they tell me I may lock up our baggage
again. It is too bad that they should rumple
Mademoiselle's muslin-dress, with which she
intends to make a sensation, into a wisp, and
should further annoy her by calling her
Madame ; but they are not a bad set of
fellows on the whole, nor wanting in a certain
cordiality of manner. They look at my passport,
enter it in their book, and then bid me
good morning by name, as if they had known
me for the last ten years. They are Flemings,
no doubt. You may know a Flemish man or
woman by the friendly vocatives with which
they interlard their conversation. Mon ami
or mon cher ami is ever on their lips, while
addressing you. " What are you looking for,
my friend ? " asked a market-woman, whom
I had never in my life seen beforeunless,
perhaps, twenty years ago, when she must
have been a little girl. " I want half a
hundred cauliflower plants," I replied. — " Ah, my
dear friend, you won't find that for another
fortnight. But you'll come and see me again
in another fortnight ; you'll come to me for
them, won't you, my dear friend ? "

Returned once more to our railway
carriage, a change has come over the spirit of
our journey. We lose the red-legged
soldiery of France, exchanging them for others
with grey and pepper-and-salt continuations.
The military, too, are men of taller stature,
with more flesh upon their bones. Generally,
the Belgians feed better than the natives of
the north of France, and show it in their
personal appearance. Piebald or rusty-brown
monks and nuns flutter about and read their
breviaries in greater profusion. Belgium is
still a monastic stronghold of brotherhoods
and sisterhoods ; and the clergy are struggling
hard for an increase of power.

The aspect of the country from Mouscron
to Ghent is ever rich and highly cultivated.
The crops are mostly grown in ridges, with
deep furrows between them, indicative of a
strong clayey loam, but wet. Of wood, as in
France, little is to be seen compared with
England, except where congregated into
forests. Here and there are a few plantations
of Scotch firs, set very thick, to spindle
them up for poles and railings.

Railway travelling is cheaper (by
something like a third), than in France, and,
consequently much cheaper than in England;
children under eight years of age pay half-
price ; under three, and in arms, nothing;
but certainly the article you get for your
money is inferior in quality to that furnished
by the first-named country. In France
every traveller is allowed sixty pounds
(French) of luggage gratis, independent of
his small personalities; in Belgium none at
all. Whatever you do not take into the
carriage with you, such as a carpet-bag or
basket of moderate weight, has to be paid
for in addition to your ticket. The first-class
carriages are handsome and comfortable, but
small. The third class chars-à-bancs are
open at the sides, exposed to the wind, the
rain, and the snow, which sometimes rake
them fore and aft; in inclement weather, they
are not fit to carry sheep and cattle, much
less human beings. Dogs in Belgium pay
third-class fare, but are snugly stowed away
in a baggage-wagon. In one of these
locomotive pens for men, women, and tender
children, a fat hog might have his health
seriously injured as the consequence of a
long day's journey.

The State is the sole proprietor of nearly
all the Belgian railways; and while it
paternally confers on its subjects the benefit
of cheap circulation and traffic, it might
also modify an arrangement which is no
other than unfeeling, and is deficient in
that humanity which a government ought to
exercise towards all under its protecting
sway, without reference to wealth or rank.
The second-class carriages are tolerable, with
stuffed seats and a little horizontal stripe of
stuffing to ease the back, and ladies may
travel in them; but they are of scant dimensions,
very naked inside, and unprovided
with any hooks for hats or caps, or with
receptacles for sticks and umbrellas. The
seats are fancifully arranged with a sort of
passage left between them, to give the means
of stepping from one to the other, as if you
were occupying a little parlour; but the
result is no addition to comfort. The signal
for starting is given, not by the whistle of
the engine, but by a little musical flourish,
a tir-ely, consisting of three notes, blown on
his bugle by the conductor of the train. Of
the officials, general civility and obliging
behaviour is the rule. The passengers'
luggage department would be improved by
assimilation with the system adopted in
France. But nations are often like wilful

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