Page:Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home (Volume 1).djvu/129

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126
BRUSSELS.

me. It is, considering the subject, fortunately placed, being the altar-piece of the altar belonging to the family of Rubens; and you look at it with the feeling that you are in the presence of this greatest of Flemish artists, as the marble slab on which you are treading tells you that his body lies beneath it. The revolutionary French, with their dramatic enthusiasm for art, spared this tomb when they broke open and pillaged every other one in this church. The picture is called a holy family. The punter, by introducing his own dearest kindred with the names and attributes of saints, has canonized them without leave of pope or cardinal. His own portrait he called St. George; his father's, St. Jerome; his old grandfather's, Time; and his son naturally enough falls into the category of angels. Martha and Mary Magdalen, two most lovely women, are portraits of his two wives; one of these is said to be the same head as the famous "Chapeau de Paille"—probably the Magdalen.

For the rest—and what a rest of churches, pictures, carvings, and tombs, that cost us hours of toilsome pleasure, I spare you.




Brussels, Monday, 15.—We came here twenty-five miles by railroad. The cars we thought as good as those on the "Great Western" in England; and our fare was a third less, and so was our speed. The country was a dead level. A Flemish painter only could work up to its creature comforts into pic-