From these scraps of old lore—all taken from the little Leeuwarden guide—it will be seen that Friesland is rich in romantic traditions and well worthy the attention of any maker of sagas.
Groningen to Zutphen
Fresh tea—Dutch meals—The Doelens—Groningen—Roman Catholic priests—The boys’ penance—Luther and Erasmus—The peat country—Folk lore—Terburg—Thomas a Kempis—Zwolle—The wild girl—Kampen—A hall of justice indeed—An ideal holiday-place—The wiseacres—Urk—Sir Philip Sidney—Zutphen—The scripture class—The wax works—Dutch public morality.
I remember the Doelen at Groningen for several reasons, all of them thoroughly material. (Holland is, however, a material country.) First I would put the very sensible custom of providing every guest who has ordered tea for breakfast with a little tea caddy. At the foot of the table is a boiling urn from which one fills one’s teapot, and is thus assured of tea that is fresh. So simple and reasonable a habit ought to be the rule rather than the exception: but never have I found it elsewhere. This surely is civilisation, I said.
The Doelen was also the only inn in Holland where an inclusive bottle of claret was placed before me on the table; and it was the only inn where I had the opportunity of eating ptarmigan with stewed apricots—a very happy alliance.
Good however as was the Groningen dinner, it was a Sunday dinner at the Leeuwarden Doelen which remains in my memory. This also is a friendly unspoiled northern inn, where the bill of fare is arranged with a nice thought to the requirements of the Free Frisian. I kept no note of the meal, but I recollect the occurrence at one stage of plovers’ eggs (which the Dutch eat hot, dropping them into cold water for an instant to ensure the easy removal of the shell), and at another, some time later, of duckling with prunes.
The popularity of the name Doelen as a Dutch sign might have a word of explanation. Doelen means target, or shooting saloon; and shooting at the mark was a very common and useful recreation with the Dutch in the sixteenth century. At first the shooting clubs met only to shoot—as in the case of the arquebusiers in Rembrandt’s “Night Watch,” who are painted leaving their Doelen; later they became more social and the accessories of sociability were added; and after a while the accessories of sociability crowded out the shooting altogether, and nothing but an inn with the name Doelen remained of what began as a rifle gallery.