The maid of Malines

Het googlen op Mechelen, Malines, Mecheln, Mechlin of Malinas is altijd leuk, want je komt geregeld onverwachte dingen tegen.  En deze keer gaat het over “The Pilgrims of the Rhine”, een bundel novelles van Edward George Bulwer-Lytton uit 1834. 

Hier de inhoud

En daarin ontdekte ik een verhaal dat zich afspeelt in ons Mechelen.


Ik ging dus aan het googlen ivm het verhaal van The maid of Malines.  Hier de eerste zinnen :

"...It was noonday in the town of Malines, or Mechlin, as the English usually term it.  The Sabbath bell had summoned the inhabitants to divine worship and the crowd that had loitered round the Church of St. Rembauld had gradually emptied itself within the spacious aisles of the sacred edifice.

A young man was standing in the street, with his eyes bent on the ground and apparently listening for some sound for without raising his looks from the rude pavement.  He turned to every corner of it with an intent and anxious expression of countenance. He held in one hand a staff, in the other a long slender cord, the end of which trailed on the ground.  Every now and then he called, with a plaintive voice : "Fido, Fido, come back ! Why hast thou deserted me ?" Fido returned not, the dog, wearied of confinement, had slipped from the string, and was at play with his kind in a distant quarter of the town, leaving the blind man to seek his way as he might to his solitary inn.

By and by a light step passed through the street, and the young stranger's face brightened.

"Pardon me," said he, turning to the spot where his quick ear had caught the sound, "And direct me, if you are not much pressed for a few moments time, to the hotel Mortier d'Or."

It was a young woman, whose dress betokened that she belonged to the middling class of life, whom he thus addressed. "It is some distance hence, sir", said she, "But if you continue your way straight on for about a hundred yards, and then take the second turn to your right hand."

"Alas !", interrupted the stranger, with a melancholy smile, "Your direction will avail me little, my dog has deserted me, and I am blind !"

There was something in these words and in the stranger's voice, which went irresistibly to the heart of the young woman. "Pray forgive me," she said, almost with tears in her eyes, "I did not perceive your misfortune"  She was about to say, but she checked herself with an instinctive delicacy : "Lean upon me, I will conduct you to the door; nay, sir", observing that he hesitated, "I have time enough to spare, I assure you."

The stranger placed his hand on the young woman's arm and though Lucille was naturally so bashful that even her mother would laughingly reproach her for the excess of a maiden virtue, she felt not the least pang of shame, as she found herself thus suddenly walking through the streets of Malines along with a young stranger, whose dress and air betokened him of rank superior to her own.

"Your voice is very gentle", said he, after a pause, "And that," he added, with a slight sigh, "Is the only criterion by which I know the young and the beautiful !"  Lucille now blushed, and with a slight mixture of pain in the blush, for she knew well that to beauty she had no pretension. "Are you a native of this town ?", continued he.

"Yes, sir.  My father holds a small office in the customs, and my mother and I eke out his salary by making lace.  We are called poor, but we do not feel it, sir."

"You are fortunate !  There is no wealth like the heart's wealth, content", answered the blind man, mournfully.

"And, monsieur," said Lucille, feeling angry with herself that she had awakened a natural envy in the stranger's mind, and anxious to change the subject, "And monsieur has he been long at Malines ?..."

( Verderlezen kan hier : – Chapter IV : The maid of Malines )

Bon, het is niet meer als een leuk en fictief verhaaltje dat als achtergrond Mechelen of Malines heeft.  En bij het lezen oefen je ook nog eens je Engelse Vocabulaire en Grammaire.

De bundel bevatte ook nog een groot aantal gravures (zie inhoud bovenaan) en ook daar vinden we eentje van Mechelen : The church of St. Rembauld - Mechlin.  Deze gravure werd gemaakt door ene J. LeKeux en ziet er zo uit...

Volgende Mechelse prent was ook van J. LeKeux, maar dit terzijde.

Een leuk en verborgen pareltje, dus, dit verhaaltje.

Verscholen in de Geschiedenis en nu terug opgevist voor Mechelen Blogt.


Het verhaal is ook te lezen in The Consul's Daughter (And Other Interesting Stories) - Pag. 27 - GoogleBooks