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I ask a gentleman why the cathedral here is not filled with monuments like Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's. He replies that it was twice sacked,—once by the Calvinists in 1566, and once by the French at the time of their Revolution.*
Among the persons at Madame Willems' was a young man, a painter, one of the competitors for the prize of Rome. He did not gain it, but with great good humor he spoke in high terms of the merit of the painting which had gained, and brought the successful competitor to dine with One year the competition is in painting, another in sculpture, a third in architecture. This year there were sixteen competitors, out of which number six were chosen, and given, as the subject of a painting, the return of the prodigal son. Each is shut up alone until he has made his sketch; then they may go where they please for three months, during which time they are to paint the picture. He who gains the prize receives five thousand francs a year for four years in order to visit Rome, and must send to the government every year a painting from that city.
It was on the day of the great festival that the Vaderland steamed away from the quay at Antwerp, and that I accompanied her, returning to my native land.
*See for a short account of the former Appletons' "Cyclopædia," article "Iconoclasts," and, for a longer one, Prescott's "Philip II."