“Brussels” [essay]
Brussels is a lovely, a queenlike city, from
a distance, sweeping up the flanks of its
hill, battlement over battlement swell–
ing up higher, and higher, and yet higher
and the massive obscurity of the two huge
square cathedral towʼrs looming over the
whole, and contrasted strangely with the
delicate sharp spiriness of the steeple of
the hotel de ville. 1 Paris would look like
an assemblage of brick kilns beside it. 2
We saw Brussels at eleven miles distance
its towers rising dark and spearlike out

of the horizon— It was waxing dark as we
entered the city, and the lights began to
twinkle in the few, the very few shop win‐
dows. I love to pass through a city at night
the hum of the voices rises so softly out of
the obscurity, and the figures flit about
dark and batlike, and the cold starlight
mingles so strangely withe a the red swar‐
thy gleam of the lamps, and when you
look up, the narrow strip of sky is of
such a dark dark blue, you may see
it appear to quiver with the starlight
if you look long, and the white house
fronts rise so ghastly, so ghostlike agains b
it and the windows seem grinning ma–
liciously askance at you. It makes one
shiver to think of it. 3 Cities are exceed–
ingly picturesque when built upon hills
but for exploring for circumnavigating for
perambulating— Oh woe to the walker
who is compelled to drag himself up

their steeps, those tiresome paved steeps,
those hard unyielding provokingly smooth
flagstones;or to go thundering down,
his rapidity increasing every instant
 
c
when he is once in for it, lurching
tremendously like a ship in a swell,
 
d
jerk, jerk, jerking, — Oh facilis des–
census Averni, 4 sed; 5 Ay theres the rub. 6
The hotel de Bellevue at Brussels 7 ought
to have a belle vue, for you might as
 
e
well scale the crags of Gibraltar, as storm
the heights of the hotel de belle vue—;
whence, for all the boast of its title, I
never could discover more belle vue, than
a dusty square, some formal houses, &
a few murky park trees.
We left Brussels on Wednesday mor–
ning 8 for Waterloo. f the sun beamed
sweetly among the long trunk of the
aged trees of the forest of Soigny; 9 and
 
g
their damp bark glistened dewily,— as
 
h

it rose up taller, and taller, branching off
into the bending boughs, and slender spray
with the delicate foliage scattered through
here every leaf defined separately and clear
ly, as you looked up to the broad sky there
in light spready masses partially con–
cealing the long tapery grey trunks which
which i retired back, farther and still far–
ther, yet distinctly grouped, and those
groups separated by the gleamy stream,
of yellow sunshine, which shone full
 
j
on the sides of the swelling green grassy
banks, then broken by the intervening
hollows, then climbing again up the
dewy moss and white trunks. It was
exceeding beautiful, I could have fan–
cied the glister 10 of the bright bayonets
 
k
changing, like starlight on a wavy o–
cean, among the retiring foilage of
 
l
those ancient trees,— I forgot how many
long years had past by since that ev–

entful day. * * * This is the field of Waterloo. 11
The round hills of green pasture lay unbro
ken before me, without a single tree except
where far to the right the rich forest coun
try commenced again, breaking away in
rounded masses, till lost in the blue of
the faint horizon. All is peace now.
Englishmen may feel proud on the field
of Waterloo, perhaps I did, but there is
something mingled with it.— Poor
Napoleon. The grass is very green on
the field of Waterloo— it has grown from
the dust of our bravest. Oh tread on
it 12 softly 13