Brian Condon: Diary of John Thomas Hynes, 1843-1868


April 1859

1859. Cologne. April 3rd. Visited the magnificent Cathedral several times - present at the High Mass this morning.

Dusselldorf [sic]. Apl. 4th. Arrived last evening from Cologne - put up at the Hotel de l'Europe - a very charming city it appears to be - a visit from Mr. Schulzen, to whom I brought a letter - recommends me to consult another oculist still more eminent than the one named by Mr. Wiseman.

5. Lost this day in looking for the oculist recommended by Mr. Schulzen. Took the rail to a place called Viersen, 6 miles beyond which he lives. Could get no conveyance to take me there and back to the train before night. It may be all for the better, for I have an idea that the man recommended by Wiseman is the better of the two and his place is more accessible. Spent some time at a town called Galbach - handsome, like all the German towns I have seen.

Dusseldorf. 7 April 1859. Had a fruitless and annoying journey yesterday in search of Dr de Leuw. Took train for a little place call[ed] Vohwinkel - thence by omnibus to the village of Gräfrath near which the oculist lives - was dropped at the Doctor's door - found the place full of patients -remained to the very last without seeing [him], and had to return on foot to Vohwinkel towards nightfall - no train, however, answered for Dusseldorf before 10 [o'] clock - got back to my hotel at 11 p.m. I shall not look again after those German village oculists.

These Germans are as bad as others for robbing travellers. The conductor of the omnibus demanded as his fare 1 Thaler or 3s.9d., the legitimate fare being only 31/2d.- and the fellow had the effrontery to ask me besides for a pourboir [sic. i.e., a tip]. From the number of persons old and young wearing spectacles in Germany, I should say that there must be some thing in the climate unfavourable to eyesight.

1859. Dusseldorf. April 7th. Looked in at the gallery of modern paintings - a very nice collection of native artist pictures.

9. Wrote to Dr Goold - said that I was leaving here for Brussels, where I should expect a letter from him.

I find the servants (Hotel) as great rogues as in other places - a plausible fellow, the head waiter of the Europe, bought me yesterday some cigar meerschaums, one of which I selected, and for which he said the price was 21/2 Thalers - 7s. 6d. Unfortunately for him he mentioned the magazin from which he brought them, and strolling by the place in the evening, I discovered (to the amazement of the shop keeper) that he was charging me only just double. He has the cooking of my account for the morning and I dare say he will lay it on me in the same fashion.

1859. April 9. As I conjectured, the scoundrel head waiter has imposed on me several little items in revenge for his exposure in the affair of the meerschaums, and at parting he was very impudent. He threatened to send the Commissionaire after me to the station of Obercasse at the other side of the Rhyne to dun me for going to the Post Office to inquire for letters. This worthy coadjutor was sent after the cab, overtook it and followed me accordingly; I had, however, the satisfaction of seeing the vagabond sneak back without getting a sou.

Brussels - arrived about 31/2 p.m. from Dusseldorf I took up my quarters at the Hotel de Saxe.

Dined at the Table d'Hote; a very good one indeed - charged only 3 francs [inserted at bottom of page: pint of bad wine F1.50 extra].

The passport has cost me nothing since I left England.

1859. Brussels. April 11th. Yesterday was Passion Sunday. Went to the Cathedral for Mass, afterwards to S. Jaques [sic].

The shops were nearly as generally open as in Paris, and I observed some people, mantua makers, working. At night the theatres were all open, the King and royal family being present at one of them.

16. The weather has been detestable here for some days - hail, snow and thunder, it is now snowing heavily.

Called at the P. Office yesterday, and the day before - no letter from Dr Goold.

The theatres here are open every night - and yet the churches seem to be pretty well attended too. The little girls who made their first Communion on Sunday last have been parading the streets all the week in their white uniforms.

1859. Brussels. April 16th. Saw in the Times a notice of the arrival on the 15th. of the West India steamer.

I wonder what kind of letter it has brought me from Dr Etheridge! He has put himself towards me so completely on the wrong that he will find it difficult to make any decent excuse for his innuendoes in his last letters.

The Nuns will give me a chapter on the retirement of Angela from the Convent.

17. Palm Sunday. Through the streets and at the doors of the churches, they are selling as blessed palm sprigs of box, the same as they use in Ireland on this day. In Demerara the real palm will make a figure today in the churches - but no sale of it - in this respect, Belgium is in the rear of other countries.

The Cathedral was pretty full this morning.

Brussels. 17th. April 1859. It is snowing heavily again today with a gleam of sunshine now and then. Russia has not all the monopoly of cold.

18. Called again today at the Post office and received usual information: "n'est pas rien" [nothing].

The weather continues exceedingly cold, but no rain or snow as yet today.

Yesterday, Palm Sunday, most of the shops were open and the theatres in the evening. Drunkness [sic] is not uncommon here - meet some votaries of Bacchus every day.

Saw among the advertisements in the Times a small mincing machine - 30/- - advertised. I have been long wishing for such an article - to be had at Nye & Co's, 79 Wardour St., Soho.

Brussels 20th. April 1859. The weather still continues cold, but seems to be pretty general in the north of Europe. Accounts from England represent the weather identically as we have it here. I hope it will take a change for the better by Saturday, as I am thinking of moving towards Calais and London on that day or at farthest on Monday.

I despair of hearing from Dr Goold while in Brussels - perhaps my letter from Dusseldorf has not reached him.

The rumours of war prevailing since January seem to be increasing in intensity. If we can believe the papers, it is now imminent. Should it break out, a bouleversement [upheaval] will be sure to recur in Rome.

What, then, will become of the Pope. Will the Colleges be suffered to go on unmolested?

I hope the Propaganda will not be interfered with - a bad prospect for sending Tim's boy on.

1859. Brussels. April 21. No letter from Dr Goold - possibly mine of the 8th. has not been rightly forwarded from Dusseldorf. He surely will be in England or Ireland by this time.

22. Good Friday. Externally very little appearance of religious observance - the shops are all open, and the out and indoor work going on as usual. The two churches I attended this morning were pretty well filled but not at all to excess or such, as they would be in Ireland or in the Colonies.

The news venders [sic] in the street are crying out "la guerre est déclarée" [war is declared]. Sad news in Holy Week.

The weather is changing for the better, and induces me to make arrangements for starting in the morning for Calais - called for the last time at the Post office - n'est rien from Dr Goold.

1859. Brussels. April 23. Left at 73/4 a.m. for London via Bruges Calais.

The Hotel de Saxe I found to be as extortionate in its charges as any other on the Continent.

London. April 24th. Easter Sunday. Arrived at the Tavistock from the London Bridge Station between 10 and 11 o'c. p.m. - no trouble with luggage or passport.

I have made no use of my Circular Notes - brought them all back.

With the exception of Good Friday, the theatres in Brussels were open every night during the Holy Week.

A Belgian gentleman whom I met at the Saxe who speaks English very well and has travelled a good deal informed me that there are more Freemasons and Infidels (atheists, he said) in Liège than in any other town in Europe - it is the focus also of extreme radicalism in politics.

1859. London. April 25. Called at the Bank and at Wigmore St. - no tidings of Dr Goold at either place.

Handed to Mr. Jerningham the Circular Notes which I brought back from Continent.

A letter from Mother Stanislas dated 9th. ult.

26. Moved from the Tavistock to my old quarters in Wigmore Street. There is a letter here from McEncroe for Dr Goold.


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