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of the hearse are gilded angels. At the time of a funeral I see a yellow-fringed cloth lying over the coffin and hanging down the sides of the hearse, nearly hiding those ghastly emblems of mortality. A priest is in the first carriage, and only men in the others, but whether this is the universal rule I cannot tell. In a funeral procession I see smoke issuing from a carriage window, for within young men have cigarettes.
Mrs. Willems tells me that the country-people of Belgium put poppy-seeds into the children's pap to make them sleep while they work in the fields. She had before taken me to visit a crèche, a sort of temporary infant asylum, where, among many others, I saw a child, quite a nice one, but of a very peculiar appearance,-dark around the eyes. I could not understand the cause of this, hearing from the teacher that she had not a bad habit, which I suspected; but when I hear about the poppy-seeds, it strikes me that this may be the cause. Mrs. Willems adds that in the town it is quite common to give slaap-drank, or sleepdrink, to the children; that hired nurses carry the bottle in their pockets to keep the baby asleep (or children under two years); and that mothers give it.
DURING my stay at Antwerp, Mrs. Willems kindly accompanies me on several excursions among the farming population. We travel almost entirely by rail, and railway travelling is cheap here. Our first trip is only about three
miles from the city, and when we alight at the station Mrs. W. inquires the way of a gentleman, who, with a lady, has also got off of the train. When he learns what we are out for, he says that they are going to visit a farm of his, and it is concluded for us to accompany them; but first we must pass through the village, where he is repairing a house. I am quite shocked at the station by seeing wagons drawn by dogs, holding peasants returning from market with their baskets. I see three persons, drawn by three dogs abreast, but when it comes to two dogs dragging two women, in the August heat, it looks worse. We meet many of these dogs laboring along on the stone pavement of the highway; must not their paws be sore? They have a means of expression, however, that does not belong to horses. I hear a barking and see a man whipping, for he wants his team to get over the railroad track. Mr. Pulmann, as I call the gentleman whom we accompany, says that these people got up at one o'clock to go to market at Antwerp, and they still have a long distance to go. He says that they live in a poor country, where there is a great deal of sand, but he afterwards adds that they are people without care; they do not read the newspapers, and do not concern themselves about what is going on in America. They bring eggs, butter, chickens, and many rabbits, but probably not fruits, from their country; and then English dealers meet them, and take their produce. Mr. Pulmann adds that these English agents come to his farm to ask the farmer to sell them his fruits by the tree; they will come themselves to gather them. He adds that more agricultural products go to England than Antwerp itself consumes. Antwerp is said to have one hundred and twenty thousand souls, but England pays better. After passing through the village, we at length reach the farm of Mr. Pulmann, and find the
farm-house to be a long building of brick, with a firm, excellent roof of osiers, or willow, laid on like thatch, and seven or eight inches thick. Such a roof is said to be good for the grain, which is, of course, kept in the garret. The house is very pleasantly situated in a grassy yard, with a number of fine elms in front, and some laurels or baytrees in tubs, and medlars growing,-fruits that are gathered in November. In this handsome yard there is no manureheap, as so often seen in France. The bake-house is a separate large building, for fear of fire. It has a tile roof, which is cheaper than the willow. The buildings and the yard are surrounded by a ditch or fish-pond, more than twelve yards broad, in winter about three or four yards deep, and measuring about fifty yards long on each side. In it are carp, eels, and other fish. I wish to know the age of the house. "We will look," says Mr. Pulmann ; and when we go to one end, we find large iron figures put into the wall giving the date of the house as 1615 (or five years older than Massachusetts). The ground here is dug in ditches at a distance from each other of about a yard and a half; not all the fields are thus dug, but the wet ones. Land here without buildings is worth about five hundred and thirty dollars an acre, and when there is competition may run up higher than seven hundred. Farmers here rent for money, the rent payable every six months, and amounting to about ten dollars the acre. The use of the buildings is thrown in, and the farmer pays all taxes. The taxes amount to seven per cent. of the revenue, the government making an estimate once in ten years of the value of the property, and putting the taxes at seven per cent. But although the farmer pays the taxes, that does not make him a voter; he pays them to the landlord. His tax on windows, two francs a year for each, the tax on his doors, on
his chimney, on his animals, these entitle him to vote for burgomaster and town-council, but not for deputies to parliament.*
Soon after we get to the farm the farmer's wife comes in her Flemish cap of lace and clattering wooden shoes. She has a table set for us in the shaded yard, and she offers us milk and plums,-fine purple ones. She brings me a wellwritten letter from her brother-in-law, who is a priest,-"a Catholic missionary at Chicago," but as the letter is in Flemish, I cannot read it, nor can I understand her. We do not see the farmer himself, but she is preparing for market. She has peas and apples, and potatoes are standing in a cart.
Within the house, in the kitchen, there is a fireplace as large as our old-fashioned ones, and within it is a good stove in which they are burning coal. Mr. Pulmann tells us that the stove will be removed in winter as insufficient to keep them warm, and a large wood-fire built upon the hearth. I remark that they ought to have a stove to burn the wood in, that this is extravagant. (I wonder whether the reason can be that there is no pipe-hole cut in the chimney.) Mr. Pulmann shows me where the farmer gets his wood. All or most of the fields are surrounded by trees, and between the trees are shrubs growing. It is the trimmings of these shrubs which the farmer gets to burn. After entering Belgium, I was surprised to see so much wood; but now I infer that, owing to the small size of the fields, and their being surrounded with trees, the country has a wooded appearance. Afterwards I find another part of Belgium as treeless as where I sojourned in the north of
* My impression, from recollection, is that this farm contained about thirty-three acres.
France. Where Belgium suffers from too much water, can it be good policy to surround the fields with trees? But to return to the farmer's kitchen. On the side opposite to the fireplace, Mrs. Farmer opens a door, and what is my surprise to find myself facing the cows. Near the door, inside the kitchen, is a berth built into the wall, and quite short. This is for the bed of the farmer and his wife; and there is in it a kind of small shutter, which, when opened, allows them to observe what is going on in the stable. The stable is constructed in a remarkable manner for saving the manure, but we may doubt whether it is very good for the animals that spend all their lives here. The cows stand, with their heads facing the house part, upon a floor not much longer than their bodies, and then the floor ceases, and running the length of the centre of the stable is a deeper part for receiving the manure. Opposite to the cows, and tail to them, and also on a floor elevated above this central portion, is the horse. Thus it will be observed how easily the stables can be cleaned. You have only to draw the manure to the centre, and let it fall into this deeper part, where it is thoroughly protected from the weather. Mr. Pulmann calls my attention to the fact of there being a cask here to receive the urine.
We go into the garden, which is large and neatly kept; again the ground is ditched and lying in lands somewhat like those prepared for the vine in the south of France, or in broad beds. This ditching is to prevent the water or ice from lying on the garden in the winter. I observe that the currant-bushes are cultivated in tree form; there are many fruit-trees and some dahlias and hydrangeas. The lady who accompanies Mr. Pulmann is his sister-in-law, and she tells us of the family of the farmer's wife who live in the adjoining village, and who have rented the same lands