The few days that followed in Paris were days of rest, or were spent in planning for the future. The art galleries and the shops on the boulevards were repeatedly visited, theaters and rides were enjoyed, and on Friday morning, the ladies went to the railway station to take leave of Alfonso and Leo, who left Paris for the study of art in the Netherlands. Colonel Harris and George Ingram were expected to arrive in Paris on Saturday evening.
IN BELGIUM AND HOLLAND
Reluctantly Alfonso and Leo left Lucille and May in Paris. Both were well educated and beautiful women. It is possible that Alfonso might have loved May Ingram had he been thrown more into her company, and so known her better in early life, but the Harrises and Ingrams rarely met each other in society. As for Leo, he loved Lucille, but she had erected an impassable barrier in her utterance on the steamer, “First love or none.”
Leo in a thousand ways had been kind to her, because he hoped eventually to win her favor, and possibly because he fully appreciated the value of money. Fortunes in Europe are not so easily made, but once won, the rich of the old world as a rule husband their resources better then they of the new world. On the whole Alfonso and Leo were glad to cut loose from society obligations and be free to absorb what generations of art development in the Netherlands had to offer.
Leaving Paris they took the express via Rheims for Brussels. Entering this beautiful capital of the Belgians in the northern part of the city, they took a cab that drove past the Botanic Garden down the Rue Royale to the Hotel Bellevue which is near the Royal Palace and overlooks a park, embellished with sculptures, trees, flowers, and smooth lawns. One of the most enjoyable and profitable things for tourists to do in their travels is to climb at least one tower or height, as the views and correct information thus obtained will cling longest to the memory.
Brussels is Paris in miniature. The royal palace and park may be compared to the Tuileries. The beautiful drive down the Boulevard de Waterloo and up Avenue Louise leads directly to the Bois de la Cambre, a lovely forest of four hundred and fifty acres, which resembles the Bois de Boulogne of Paris. Nearly six miles of old and new boulevards encircle Brussels, passing through the upper and lower portions of the city. The pleasing variety of some of the more handsome buildings is due to the competition for large premiums offered for the finest facades. The resemblance of Brussels to Paris is perhaps more apparent in the cafes, shops, and public amusements along the busy boulevards. West of the Royal Palace is the picture gallery owned by the state, and by judicious and repeated purchases, the collection of pictures is considered superior to that of the famous gallery in Antwerp. In this gallery the two young artists spent several pleasant half-days comparing the early Flemish and Dutch schools. Especially did they study portrait work by Rubens, Frans Hals, and Van der Helst. All the work by the blacksmith artist Quinten Matsys in color or iron proved of great interest to the young Americans.