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dead-pulling literary task. The one handsome
street, the Rue de Quai, and the two
respectable squares, the Grande Place and
the Grain Market, are then equally dull and
dead. There is not the slightest pretext
for an inland excursion. On the coast there
is nothing to distract your attention on either
side, but long lines of sand-hills stretching
far away into invisibility. The oyster-park
and the lobster-park are the nearest approach
to a zoological gardens. The only seaside
promenade, faced at low water by hard,
firm sands, and commanding an extensive
marine horizon, is really a digue or breakwater,
built of brick, to prevent the
sea from swallowing up the town. The
digue, whose surface furnishes an ever clean
and dry pavement, with a gentle slope down
to the sands, is really a beautiful walk, and
is the centre and the sum of the Ostend
gaieties. Invalids who cannot budge far for
exercise, can still inhale the sea-breeze here;
idlers may be amused by the airs and graces
of the visitors, and by the ludicrous freedom
which people often allow themselves when
they are conscious of being away from home.

The requirements of the heterogeneous
concourse are impartially attended to; the
Etablissement des Bains is an unfailing resource for
all. Hungry folk can betake themselves to the
restaurant, which occupies one wing; and if you
have no other mode of introducing yourself to
likely people, you can always ask whether the
water is cold to-day. For the foreign dames
and demoiselles, glass screens are raised across
the digue, to prevent the winds on either side
from visiting them too roughly; while the
dames and demoiselles themselves are
assembled for the benefit of the native
mendicants.

If you return to France either viรข the
semi-dead, prostrate towns, Nieuport and
Furnes, to Dunkerque, or by rail to Lille,
beware how you take with you, in the first
place, publications offensive to the French
authorities,—and abominable libels are
printed in Belgiumand secondly, tobacco,
cigars, or snuff. A cargo of either will get
you into trouble, or cause you vexation. A
word might be said about the Flemish
pictures in the churches which you ought to
seethe Van Eycks, the Memlings, the
Probuses, and so on, but their extortionate
keepers render the subject painful. Pictures
are veiled with green baize curtains, in order
to extract twenty-sou pieces from travellers'
pockets, under the pretence of preserving the
hidden treasure. I blushed with disgust to
see, at Bruges, the tombs of Charles the
Rash, and Mary of Burgundy, blockaded by a
shabby wooden screen, on which was a notice
that the guardian had orders not to open the
door until he had received from every visitor
a ten-sou bit, for the Committee of Repairs,
in addition to his private gratuity. The
Braves Belges lay a heavy tax on admirers
of ecclesiastical art.

There are other things in Belgium that
might be changed for the better; for instance
certain young ladies' schools have too great
a resemblance to prisons, both in material
construction and in management. High
walls that exclude the sun, inclosed courtyards
and thickly-screened gardens, are more
likely to affect pupils with the home-disease,
than to cheer their spirits or promote their
health. What sense is there in the etiquette
observed, as at Ghent, that young girls must
be concealed? That they must not walk
out, even in formal procession, except to mass
or confession, through the streets of the city?
That, to have a half-holiday at a dismal place
called a campagne, almost as isolated as the
prison pensionnat itself, they must be driven
out of town in close vigilantes, — hackney
one-horse coaches, with most moderate fares,
and be treated during their journey to and
fro, and during their stay in the country, as if
they were an Old Bailey jury out for their Sunday
airing in Epping Forest! Put naughty
girls into spinning-houses and sequestration,
as much as you like, and for as long as you like;
but for good girls, the hope and ornament of
their homes,—poor pretty little dears!—why
incarcerate them in close confinement, at
least before they have done something to
deserve it ? I would not send a child of
mine to such a conventual establishment, to
have her spirit broken and her health
enfeebled. I am answered that it is the custom
of the country, long established; that it is
part of the peculiar views of the dominant
religious party; that such an education
accords with the destiny which devotes a
large number of females to a monastic or
semi-monastic life; and that English people
have no right to make observations after
rendering themselves the laughing-stock of
Europe by straining at the gnat of a Sunday
band, while whole caravans of camels are
swallowed without a symptom of face-making.
But, recrimination is no reply; and before
embarking a daughter to be educated abroad,
I would first ascertain, among other things,
the amount of air, light, exercise, and food to
be allowed her. May I recommend this
precaution to English parents ?

Now ready, price Five Shillings and Sixpence, neatly
bound in cloth,

THE THIRTEENTH VOLUME
OF
HOUSEHOLD WORDS.

Containing the Numbers issued between the Nineteenth
of January and the Twelfth of July, Eighteen Hundred
and Fifty-six.
Complete sets of Household Words may always be had.

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