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Before I quit Brussels, I must just observe, that the wounded after the battle of WATERLOO received the greatest attention from its inhabitants; the city, it is said, was crowded with these objects of compassion
Here might the hideous face of War be seen,
At one o'clock we took a hasty dinner, and quitted Brussels for Paris (distant one hundred and fifty miles), in the Courier for Mons, a kind of cabriolet, which carried five besides the driver. Mr. G., an English traveller, accompanied us, and our number was completed by two Frenchmen.
We left Brussels a little after noon, were at Hal by three o'clock, changed horses at half-past four, passed through Braine le Compte at five, the Forest of Soignies and the village of Soignies. It soon began to rain very hard; and, as the darkness of the night increased, we perceived lightning in the horizon, to the right. The storm at last became dreadful, and the darkness so great, that the driver had no other means of directing his course than by observing carefully the “ way-side trees,” and waiting for the occasional flashes of lightning! In this manner we were obliged to cross a bridge previous to our arrival at
We reached this place in safety by half past eight. Mr. G. and I waited with the luggage at the inn where the Courier put up, whilst Mr. B. went, accompanied by one of our French companions, in search of a good hotel to pass the night in. At the place where we waited, the men were unpleasantly importunate in urging me to engage places in the Diligence immediately for Valenciennes, but we were at last relieved by the arrival of a porter from Mr. B. This porter and two others carried our luggage to La Couronne Im. périale, in the GRANDE PLACE, while we followed behind. We there found Mr. B., and, after a comfortable supper, gladly went to bed.
Thursday, 19th.-Breakfasted, and met with Capt. B., our Brussels friend, who joined with us in engaging a voiture to VALENCIENNES. Mr. B. and 1 walked about the town, which appeared to be a miserably dull place!
Left Mons at a quarter to twelve, passed through a poor-looking country to GEMAPPE, where the first battle was fought against the Austrians, in which the Revolutionists, under Dumourier, were successful. Arrived at Bvussu by a quarter
where took some coffee at a miserable little public-house. Set off again, and got to QUIVRAIN, the frontier town, by a quarter to three. Our trunks were searched in the town by the Belgic Officers and again, about half-a-mile beyond, by the French Officers! The two
countries are connected by a bridge, which crosses a narrow stream of water. At the publir-house, close by the latter office, we had some refreshment, and proceeded on our journey. On approaching
The encampment of the British soldiery presented an interesting appearance. At the gates our passports were examined, and we passed into the town by six o'clock. We put up at the Grand Cunard, in the GRANDE PLACE, directly opposite the Town-ball, the steeple of which was injured during the siege by the Duke of York. A fair was attracting crowds to the Grunde Pluce, and, after our dinner, we joined the merry scene.
The payment of two sous a-head gave us adınission iuto one of the booths, in which a puppet-show of the largest kind formed the chief attraction. Some very curious and strange sceres were here represented! We then repaired to the inn, and engaged three places in the Paris Diligence, but not without a specimen of French imposition. The waiter informed us, that the Diligence was to leave at six in the morning on the morrow, and would get into Paris by the same hour the following day. We had, however, scarcely seated ourselves in the machine, when we learnt that, instead of twenty-four hours, thirty-six would be necessary for the completion of the journey; which, indeed, we found to be the case. By the advice of Capt. B. we had paid for the places the whole way up to Paris, and made the waiter give
a receipt; of which precaution we afterwards found the value.
Friday, 20th.-Left Valenciennes, in the Diligence, by six o'clock ; the vehicle contained six persons. At half past eight we stopped to breakfast at a mi. serable house at Bouchain ;* reached
CAMBRAY, Where the English were encamped without the gates in the same style as at Valenciennes. Here we arrived at twenty minutes to eleven, and the Diligence did not proceed for four hours. One of our French fellowtravellers conducted us through the town, which presented nothing very remarkable to our notice. After making the best of a bad dinner, we seated ourselves in another Diligence, along with our French companion, a little girl and her elder cousin, and left Cambray at a quarter after three. Passed through Catelet, near which place there is a canal which passes for three miles under ground. We alighted, and saw the arch-way where it issues again to the light. Reached
ST. QUENTIN By eight o'clock in the evening: stopped at the Garde
* Such were the accominodations at this house of refreshment, that Mr. G., who was not in the room when our basins of coffee were poured out, found, on his entering, that there was no more of that beverage prepared. He was accordingly forced to put up with plain milk and water.
de Corps to shew our passports, and there were told that it was necessary to have French passports, in order to travel to France-our passports having been merely countersigned at Brussels, and we were in a little difficulty. Mr. B. remained with the soldiers to go with them to the Commandant to settle the business, whilst Mr. G. and I proceeded to the hotel. We had not been there long, before a soldier came there to conduct us with him to the place where we had left Mr. B. We were there informed, that it was absolutely necessary for us to return to Cambray, in order to get a fresh passport from the English Commandant resident there. The Commissary of Police, however, introduced himself to us, and accompanied us to the Commandant of St. Quentin, to ascertain whether any thing could be done, but without effect. But after leaving his house, the Commissary consented to visé them himself, and thus saved us the vexation and expense of retracing our steps to Cambray. Every thing being thus happily settled, we took a hurried supper and set off (we three English and our French companiou), in a private voiture, the Diligence being full. The expense, however, was not ours, since our receipt ensured us a conveyance to Paris. We left St. Quentin at a quarter after nine, passed through Ham, and reached Noyons by half-past twelve o'clock. Here we changed carriages, as the Diligence, which we now entered, contained more than the former.