There is no part of Europe more wanting in what is known as 'scenery' than Flanders; and those who journey there must spend most of their time in the old towns which are still so strangely mediŠval in their aspect, or in country places which are worth seeing only because of their connection with some event in history--Nature has done so little for them. Thus the interest and the attraction of Flanders and the Flemish towns are chiefly historical. But it would be impossible to compress the history of such places as Bruges, Ypres, Furnes, or Nieuport within the limits of a few pages, except at the cost of loading them with a mass of dry facts. Accordingly the plan adopted in preparing the letterpress which accompanies Mr. Forestier's drawings has been to select a few leading incidents, and give these at some length.
l of West Flanders, whither artists flock to wander about amidst the canals and bridges, the dismantled ramparts, the narrow streets with their curious houses, and the old buildings which bear such eloquent testimony to the ruin which long ago overtook what was once an opulent and powerful city.
When the wrath of his father-in-law had been appeased, Baldwin, now responsible for the defence of Flanders, came to Bruges with his wife, and there established his Court. But the old burg, it seems, was not thought capable of holding out against the Normans, who could easily land on the banks of the Zwijn; and Baldwin, therefore, set about building a new stronghold on the east side of the old burg, and close to it. It was surrounded partly by the main stream of the Roya, and partly by backwaters flowing from it. Here he built a fortress for himself and his household, a church dedicated to St. Donatian, a prison, and a 'ghiselhuis,' or house for the safe keeping of hostages. The whole was enclosed by walls, bui