“His poetry is rhymed counsel—kind, wise, and good. He calculates all results, and has no mercy for thoughts, or feelings, or actions, which leave behind them weariness, regret or misery. His volumes are a storehouse of prudence and worldly wisdom. For every state of life he has fit lessons, so nicely dovetailed into rhyme, that the morality seems made expressly for the language, or the language for the morality. His thoughts—all running about among the duties of life—voluntarily move in harmonious numbers, as if to think and to rhyme were one solitary attribute. For the nurse who wants a song for her babe—the boy who is tormented by the dread of the birch—the youth whose beard begins to grow—the lover who desires a posey for his lady’s ring—for the husband—father—grandsire—for all there is a store—to encourage—to console—and to be grateful for. The titles of his works are indices to their contents. Among them are De Ouderdom, Old Age; Buyten Leven, Out-of-Doors Life; Hofgedachten, Garden Thoughts; Gedachten op Slapelooze Nachten, Thoughts of Sleepless Nights; Trouwring, Marriage Ring; Zelfstrijt, Self-struggle, etc. Never was a poet so essentially the poet of the people. He is always intelligible—always sensible—and, as was well said of him by Kruijff,
Smiling he teaches truth, and sporting wins to virtue.”
When President Kruger died last year the memoirs of him agreed in fixing upon the Bible as his only reading. But I am certain he knew Vader Cats by heart too. If ever a master had a faithful pupil, Vader Cats had one in Oom Paul. The vivid yet homely metaphors and allegories in which Oom Paul conveyed so many of his thoughts were drawn from the same source as the emblems of Vader Cats. Both had the AEsopian gift.
We have no one English writer with whom to compare Cats; but a syndicate formed of Fuller and Burton, Cobbett and Quarles might produce something akin.
Scheveningen is half squalid town, half monstrous pleasure resort. Upon its sea ramparts are a series of gigantic buildings, greatest of which is the Curhaus, where the best music in Holland is to be heard. Its pier and its promenade are not at the first glimpse unlike Brighton’s; but the vast buildings have no counterpart with us, except perhaps at Blackpool. What is, however, peculiar to Scheveningen is its expanse of sand covered with sentry-box wicker chairs. To stand on the pier on a fine day in the season and look down on these thousands of chairs and people is to receive an impression of insect-like activity that I think cannot be equalled. Immovable as they are, the chairs seem to add to the restlessness of the seething mass. What a visitor from Mars would make of it is a mystery; but he could hardly fail to connect chair and occupant. Here, he would say, is surely the abode of giant snails!