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purpose. I laughed at Elselo when he told me that I should have to pay a gulden to see it; but he averred that there was nothing like it anywhere else—and so what was one to do? I saw very little, indeed, which I had not seen before; but I was profoundly sensible of the fact that this was, so far as I knew, the only hamlet in the world in which such an assemblage of relics and curiosities could be found stored. I am sorry to have to repeat under this head my censure of the superficial treatment of his subject by the author of Walks in Holland.
of a manifold variety of interests detrimentally affected by it. Years would elapse before the ground recovered could be of much agricultural or pastoral value; and the only immediate result would be a loss of occupation to thousands of poor seafarers and others who at present gain a livelihood by the uses to which this great water-way is applied. It is sufficient to contemplate the arid and barren wastes, in almost every direction, to bring one to the conclusion that the Zuyder Zee, if it be drained at all, must be drained piecemeal; and even that can wait.
Years have come and gone, and years will come and go, before the whole of the territorial gain can prove of much practical value. The formation of an alluvium over the seasand is not merely a slow, but a very partial process, which is chiefly accomplished by the incessant dredging of the canal with long spoons or ladles, and the superimposition of the material on the soil.
Elselo unlocked an old-fashioned wardrobe upstairs, in a room where I was introduced by him to three young English ladies, who had come out here to sketch. He exhibited to me a variety of treasures, in the shape of wax models, and of holiday or festive dresses, belonging to his wife and himself. There was a model of Vrouw Elselo when she was seven, and a second when she was fourteen. There were also specimens of the gold ornaments worn by the women on certain anniversaries or saints' days. A beautiful fillet for the brow, of the last century, with very tasteful scroll-work, was stated to be a duplicate; a few florins' difference in our estimation of the value kept my money in my pocket. I may send for it, perhaps, when I forward Elselo a copy of the periodical in which this notice of him appears.
These gold ornaments, which degenerate among the less affluent into copper-gilt, were originally, I surmise, emblematic of religious worship, and were subsequently retained in use at festivals. In the more sequestered and primitive parts they are still prized as heirlooms, and serve as links of affectionate remembrance from age to age between the several intermarrying members of the same rural or ocean-bordering community. Domestic servants wear these decorations here and there, I suspect, however, as ordinary finery.
The proposed reclamation of the land, usurped a long while ago by the Zuyder Zee, would be a far vaster enterprise than that of the Haarlemmer Meer, and would at the same time be a great deal more than a pure piece of engineering. For the scheme would change the whole face of a wide tract of country, and would involve the adjustment
Man has been engaged here in an immemorial contest with Nature. Any volcanic dislocation might lay the whole country under water, except some of the higher ground toward the Rhine. The inhabitants can scarcely go to rest at night with perfect security for the morrow. In several places there are houses in every thoroughfare declining from the perpendicular; nearly all Holland works and sleeps on the sand, or on piles driven into it; and an Englishman is apt to tremble, when he reflects on such massive structures as he beholds on all sides of him dependent on so shifting and treacherous a foundation. Surely, without aspiring to technical experience, a stranger may well speculate whether the conversion of the Zuyder Zee into dry land would not displace a volume of water so immense as to become a perilous factor in some other direction.
The diversities of dialect which are noticeable among the Dutch, as well as among the Belgians, sometimes amount to nothing more than a modified pronunciation. But where it is not so, it appears to indicate a former greater habitual isolation (as we yet observe at Urk and Marken), when the country was more sparingly peopled, and intercourse was not limited only by the inability to travel beyond a very narrow radius, but by the absence of any adequate motive or by any
them to resistance. But they have lived to
strong inclination. Looking at the outlying
In tracing ethnological affinities among the members of the Frisian family, one perhaps unexpectedly finds that, instead of having to deal with the more contracted boundaries of the Dutch province, one must take the whole region from Oldenburg to Normandy.
The Dutch term Stadt seems to have a parallel meaning and force with the Roman Civitas. The town or city was formerly the centre of convergence and the sole part of the district with a sensible population. Our own word "civilization" simply denotes how men at the outset gathered up into these centres, first of all, for the sake of protection, and eventually adhered to the system for commercial purposes.
Civilization is, in fact, centralized development; and our own modern local government comes to nothing more than the redistributive process, necessitated by an increase of population, and the consequent upgrowth of new administrative or municipal rallying-points.
The Dutch are in a certain way proud of their nationality. A young fellow said to me, "I am Hollander," ostensibly as a precaution
-a useless one, to be sure-against my mistaking him for a Belgian. In my personal judgment, they are a pleasanter and braver race; but they are a population united under one government rather than a nation. They have neither pulse nor backbone. In their best days it required a great effort to move
The Crypt of Hythe.
By REV. SAMUEL BARBER.
EW places in Kent afford more ample scope for antiquarian research than the district round Folkestone and Hythe; and of all the relics of the troubled past, the ghastly and long-treasured "Skulls of Hythe" bear the palm for intensity of human interest.
On entering the crypt-door, for which a charge of a shilling is made for each party, the visitor is at once face to face with the staring, eyeless crania-perhaps of his own ancestors of 1,400 years ago. On each side of the door they are arranged on shelves set in the arches that support the upper part of the building. Not less than about six hundred of them stare you in the face at the entrance, whilst in the back part of the crypt hundreds more are embedded in the huge stack of bones which occupies the interior portion of the recess. This stack, which consists almost wholly of the larger leg and arm bones and skulls, is at the present time about 27 feet in length by about 8 feet in height and 7 feet in breadth, extra bones being piled on the top. When Hasted wrote his history of Kent the pile was 28 feet long by 8 feet in height and breadth. It is probable that decay has removed a considerable number of the bones during the ages that they have lain here, so that, roughly speaking, the present collection cannot represent an original number of slain less than about 2,000. But inasmuch as these ghastly mementoes of a bloody conflict have doubtless undergone various changes and transportations in a thousand years, the actual number of the slaughtered must have far exceeded that amount. It is necessary to bear in mind that all the remains of the heroes that fell would certainly not have been included even in the first collection. Many suggestions other than that of the "fortune of
war" have been made as to the origin of this gigantic ghastly pile-plague, fire, and shipwreck might all be called in to account for it. The first suggestion, however, is untenable, for it is beyond probability that disease should have left such a well-preserved collection presenting so many points of resemblance. So far as anatomy is concerned, they offer, by their variety of size and form, a most interesting study for the surgeon or ethnologist. They might, indeed, have been a band of Roman mercenaries collected from half a dozen nations. But as regards their physical condition the resemblance is noteworthy. It would, I believe, be utterly impossible to make such a collection, even if three or four country churchyards were carefully searched; and a shipwreck or fire seems equally untenable when the number of skulls is considered.
On the whole, a battle fought on the shore with an invading army seems the most probable explanation, and an examination of the individual skulls corroborates this. Many of them have been hacked by the blows of some heavy weapon. They present just such clefts as would be made by the forcible descent of a battle-axe or large hatchet; and in one instance a wedge, resembling the slice of a very large orange, has been evenly cut right out of the bone. Another has been divided neatly in the middle into two sections, one of which remains. Others show jagged holes, in form much like sun-spots, as if caused by the descent of an irregular-pointed weapon on the crown of the head.
That these bones are the remains of Saxons and Britons slain in a desperate contest shortly after the evacuation of Britain by the Romans appears to be the general opinion of Kentish antiquaries. The date 456 is given by Dugdale, who writes as follows:
white colour, evidently caused by the incrustation of particles of chalk and other substances deposited from the sea-water. I think also that this deposit will be found to be more decidedly taking place at those parts of the shore where the action of surf or "swell" is comparatively feeble. At any
rate, it is very noticeable in this bay, which stretches from Folkestone to Dungeness-a part of the coast where there is, in ordinary weather, comparatively little "sea."
Whatever may have been the cause, it is a fact that there is a great uniformity of tint about the beach at this part of the coast, and this similarity of colouring has to a certain extent imparted itself to the crania of those departed warriors whose remains are now in Hythe Church crypt. For four or five centuries they probably slumbered on the sea-shore which witnessed their desperate conflict, and thus they have become calcined, petrified, and preserved for the admiration of antiquaries, and for a warning to all newcomers not to be too hasty in setting foot upon British soil.
"In the crypt under the chancel is a large pile of human bones, supposed to be the remains of Britons slain in a sanguinary battle fought in the year 456, on the shore between this place and Folkestone, with the retreating Saxons, and to have obtained their whiteness by long exposure on the sea-shore."
It may be remarked that the pebbles forming the shingle in the vicinity of Sandgate and Hythe present a very uniform yellowish* England and Wales, vol. ii., p. 903.
Ireland, in his history of Kent, gives the name of Vortimer as the British king that defeated the Saxon invaders whose skulls are now at Hythe; but whether he had for this statement any real authority is doubtful.
Hasted is more cautious; yet even he writes from a "mental picture," which must have been partly of his own creation, when he speaks of the "retreating" Saxons.
The writer of Black's Guide to Kent, speaking of the theory of a Saxon cemetery having been the source of this remarkable collection of bones, adds that the remains of Saxon pottery found among the heap of bones gives confirmation to this theory.
The whole subject is undoubtedly involved in much mystery, from which we fear it will not now be fully extricated. But it will be well to give due consideration to the following facts: 1.
The skulls themselves show undoubted evidences of a desperate contest, and of blows from heavy weapons.
2. They must have been long subject to
some petrifying or preserving process, and probably lay for ages undisturbed before the building of Hythe Church.
Mr. Morfill, though not writing from an English standpoint, carefully eschews all unnecessary reflections or surmises, and aims, with much success, at an impartial outline of national history. No wholesale abuse nor wholesale praise of Russia and its past or present policy will be found in these pages. As Mr. Morfill wisely says in his brief preface, "All nations have been aggressive in their way, and therefore it is idle to talk overmuch about Russian aggressions; all nations have some blood-stained pages in their annals, and therefore it is something like hypocrisy to be struck with especial horror at Russia's misdeeds."
Yet another sentence from the preface, equally true, must be quoted: "She is entitled to the gratitude of the world, were it only for the protection she has afforded to the persecuted Christians of the East. The tide of Mahomedan persecution and proselytism was turned, from the time when Peter the Great showed the rayahs, groaning under the Turkish yoke, that they could look to Russia for help. It is to her that
the new nationality of Bulgaria, which gives such excellent promise, owes its origin. We cannot be surprised that the Christians of the East have felt grateful for her benefits. She alone stood up against their oppressors; and her enemies among us must feel that by their mistaken policy they have only strengthened her hands."
The first six chapters treat of the country
of the items are amusing. Nearly all the locks were broken, and "all the grasse worke is out of order, and broke into holes by their leaping and showing tricks upon it." There are now only a few remains of the house that belonged to Evelyn, but a street leading to it is still called after the Tsar. The gardens, which were the special beauty and admiration of the age, and in which the rough Russians played their rude games, have long since disappeared.
One of the most interesting sections of the volume is that which treats of the social con
and origin of the Russians, of the period of the Appanages, of Russia under the Mongols from 1238 to 1462, and of the establishment of the autocracy and consolidation of the empire, until at last the regeneration of Russia under Peter the Great, 1682 to 1725, is reached. The old story of Peter's travels in 1697 is briefly but well told. At Saardam, in Holland, he worked in the dockyards under the name of Peter Mikhailov. The certificates that he gained from the head of the dockyard for proficiency in various handicrafts pertaining to ship-building are still preserved. Thence Peter passed for the same purpose across the Channel to England. At first a house was provided for him in York Buildings by the water-side, and he visited the King and many of the nobility. He only cared for the companionship of those who shared his nautical tastes, and for this reason made a friend of the Marquis of Carmarthen, who was skilled in rowing and sailing. Being anxious, however, to be less hampered in his movements, Peter left York Buildings, and obtained on hire, through the help of the English Government, Sayes Court, the seat of John Evelyn (the celebrated author of the Sylva), which was close to the dockyards of Deptford.
Sayes Court was a commodious house; but the chief charm that it had in the eyes of the rough Peter was that a backdoor provided easy access to the docks and dockyard, whence he could slip out without fear of the stare of the curious. Evelyn had previously let his premises at Deptford to the gallant Admiral Benbow, who had underlet them to our Government for the use of the Tsar. But presently rumours reached Evelyn of the violence that was being done by Peter and his comrades to the elegant furniture and curtains with which the fastidious Englishman had adorned his house, as well as to the trim hedges and flowerbeds of the garden. Complaint was made to the Lords of the Treasury of the injury done, and compensation was demanded. Benbow put it on record that the place was "in so bad a condition that he can scarcely describe it to your honours, besides much of the furniture broke, lost, and destroyed." Accordingly a survey was made, and the total damage was estimated at £350 9s. 6d. Some
dition of Russia before and after the time of Peter the Great. An accurate picture of the earlier condition of the empire is afforded by the work of our countryman, Giles Fletcher, uncle of the dramatist, who was appointed by Queen Elizabeth English Ambassador to Russia. The first edition of his work, The Russe Common Wealth, came out in 1591, and was expressed with so much freedom that it was suppressed by his sovereign. The men of the upper classes at this period were The singularly ignorant and superstitious. cut representing a long-bearded Russian