"Part of Brussels" [essay, part 1]
Part of Brussels
Brussels is a lovely, a queenlike city from a distance, sweeping
up the flanks of its hill, battlement over battlement swelling up,
higher and higher and higher, and the massive darkness of the two
huge square cathedral towrs looming over the
w
l
ole and contrasted
strangely with the delicate sharp spireness 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 11 miles distance, its spires 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 windows. I love to pass through a city
by 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 with the red swarthy
gleam of the lamps light, a 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 housefronts rise so ghastly so ghostlike against
i
,
t, and
the windows seem grinning maliciously askan
ce
t
at you, It makes
one shiver to think of it. 3 Cities are exceedingly picturesque when built
upon hills, but for exploring, for circumnavigating, for traversing,