BELGIUM. Language. xiii
Custom House. The formalities of the douane are generally
very lenient. The traveller should always, if possible, superintend
the examination of his luggage in person. In crossing a frontier
even the smaller articles of luggage usually kept in the railway
carriage have to be submitted to inspection. The traveller is al¬
lowed 1 lb. of tobacco or cigars duty free, but he should declare it
to the custom-house officers. When a frontier is to be crossed,
ordinary passengers' luggage should never be sent by goods-train.
The risk of detention, pilfering, and other vexations, far out¬
weighs any saving of trouble or expense which this plan promises
The linguist, the ethnologist, and indeed every observant tra¬
veller will be interested in the marked differences between the
various races of which the Belgian nation is composed. The Walloons
(of Namur, Liege, Verviers, etc.), who are believed to be partly of
Celtic extraction, are remarkable for their enterprising and in¬
dustrious, and at the same time passionate and excitable character.
The Flemings, who constitute about three-fifths of the population,
aTe a somewhat phlegmatic race of Teutonic origin; they are pre¬
eminently successful in agriculture and those pursuits in which
energetic action is less requisite than patient perseverance, and
their language is of the Teutonic stock, being closely akin to the
Dutch. Antwerp and other seaports, however, also possess a thriv¬
ing commercial and seafaring Flemish population. A third element
is the French. Political refugees and obnoxious journalists fre¬
quently transfer the sphere of their labours from Paris to Brussels,
while a considerable proportion of the Belgian population in the
principal towns affect French manners and customs, are frequently
educated in France, and are often entirely ignorant of the Flemish
language. A valuable and interesting work, to which reference is
frequently made in the Handbook, is the 'Descriptio totius Belgii'
by the learned Florentine Guicciardini (d. 1589), who in his ca¬
pacity of Tuscan ambassador resided for several years in the Nether¬
lands. tLeodicum' (Liege), he says, 'utitur lingua Gallica, Aquis-
granum (Aix - la - Chapelle) Germanica: viri Leodicenses alacres,
festivi, tractabiles; Aquisgranensesmelancholici, severi, difficiles. In
summa, tantum alteri et natura et moribus, totaque adeo vitae ra-
tione ab alteris differunt, quantum Galli discrepant a Germanis1.
The boundary between the Walloon and Flemish languages is a
tolerably straight line drawn from Liege southwards past Brussels
to Calais, Walloon being spoken in a few isolated districts to the
N., and Flemish here and there to the S. of the line.
French is the language of the government, the legislature, the
army, of most of the newspapers, of public traffic, of literature,
and indeed of all the upper classes, as it has been since the time
of the crusades.