Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Summer Tour Reaches Holland

In the wake of Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo (June 18, 1815), Walter Scott's 1815 Tour of Waterloo and Paris (published in John Scott's journal of that name) reached the shores of Helvoet, sailing up the Maes en route to Bergen-op-zoom.

A few words from Walter Scott on first visiting the Antwerp Gate reveal something of what he kept in his memory:

'Thence we proceeded to the Antwerp gate, between which and the water-port gate, an attack was made by the column under General Cooke; and were shown the place, near the former, where Colonel Macdonald fell. A demolished garden, in which part of Cooke's division had sustained severe loss, and the spot where General Skerret was wounded, were also pointed out to us.

While we walked along the ramparts, on which we remarked several of the trees riddled with musket shot, the sky was frequently illuminated with flashes of sheet lightning ; and I well recollect the solemn feelings with which the scene impressed us, when listening to the melancholy details given us of this bold, though unfortunate attempt; " and heard," as Sir W. Scott relates, " from below the hollow roll of the drums announcing the setting of the watch, and the deep and sullen ' Wer da' of the sentinels, as they challenged those who passed their station." *
* See Paul's Letters, letter ii...'

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