I visited the Jesuits’ School, which, for the fame of their method, I greatly desired to see. They were divided into four classes, with several inscriptions over each: as, first, Ad majorem Dei gloriam ((abbreviation AMDG, is the Latin motto of the Jesuits. The motto is translated into English as “For the greater glory of God”.)); over the second, Princeps diligentiæ ((Latin: “Prince of diligence, or attention”)); the third, Imperator Byzantiorum ((Latin: the Byzantium Emperor)).; over the fourth and uppermost, Imperator Romanorum ((Latin: the Roman Emperor)). Under these, the scholars and pupils and their places, or forms with titles and priority according to their proficiency. Their dormitory and lodgings above were exceedingly neat. They have a prison for the offenders and less diligent; and, in an ample court, to recreate themselves in, is an aviary, and a yard, where eagles, vultures, foxes, monkeys, and other animals are kept, to divert the boys withal at their hours of remission. To this school join the music and mathematical schools, and lastly a pretty, neat chapel. The great street is built after the Italian mode, in the middle whereof is erected a glorious crucifix of white and black marble, greater than the life. This is a very fair and noble street, clean, well paved, and sweet to admiration.
The Oesters house, belonging to the East India Company, is a stately palace, adorned with more than 300 windows. From hence, walking into the Gun-garden, I was allowed to see as much of the citadel as is permitted to strangers. It is a matchless piece of modern fortification, accommodated with lodgments for the soldiers and magazines. The graffs, ramparts, and platforms are stupendous. Returning by the shop of Plantine, I bought some books, for the namesake only of that famous printer.
But there was nothing about this city which more ravished me than those delicious shades and walks of stately trees, which render the fortified works of the town one of the sweetest places in Europe (([Upon this Southey comments as follows:—“ Long will it be before any traveller can again speak of the delicious shades and stately trees of Antwerp! Carnot, in preparing to defend the place, laid what was then its beautiful environs as bare as a desert ” (Quarterly Review, April, 1818, p. 5). Southey visited Antwerp in the Waterloo year. –AD])); nor did I ever observe a more quiet, clean, elegantly built and civil place, than this magnificent and famous city of Antwerp. In the evening, I was invited to Signor Duerte’s, a Portuguese by nation, an exceeding rich merchant, whose palace I found to be furnished like a prince’s. His three daughters entertained us with rare music, vocal and instrumental, which was finished with a handsome collation.
I took leave of the ladies and of sweet Antwerp, as late as it was, embarking for Brussels on the Scheldt in a vessel, which delivered us to a second boat (in another river) drawn or towed by horses. In this passage, we frequently changed our barge, by reason of the bridges thwarting our course. Here I observed numerous families inhabiting their vessels and floating dwellings, so built and divided by cabins, as few houses on land enjoyed better accommodation; stored with all sorts of utensils, neat chambers, a pretty parlor, and kept so sweet, that nothing could be more refreshing. The rivers on which they are drawn are very clear and still waters, and pass through a most pleasant country on both the banks. We had in our boat a very good ordinary, and excellent company. The cut is straight as a line for twenty English miles. What I much admired was, near the midway, another artificial river, which intersects this at right angles, but on an eminence of ground, and is carried in an aqueduct of stone so far above the other as that the waters neither mingle, nor hinder one another’s passage.
We came to a town called Villefrow, where all the passengers went on shore to wash at a fountain issuing out of a pillar ((I think this the fountain at Drie Fonteinen, Vilvoorde -GS))., and then came aboard again. On the margin of this long tract are abundance of shrines and images, defended from the injuries of the weather by niches of stone wherein they are placed.