"You don't say so!" said Lambert, quite interested. "That ended the business, I suppose."
"Not a bit of it," returned en, "for the Duke of Alva had already given his son orders to show mercy to none."
"Ah! That was where the great Haarlem massacre came in. I remember now. You can't wonder that the Hollanders dislike Spain when you read of the way they were butchered by Alva and his hosts, though I admit that our side sometimes retaliated terribly. But as I have told you before, I have a very indistinct idea of historical matters. Everything is confusion--from the flood to the battle of Waterloo. One thing is plain, however, the Duke of Alva was about the worst specimen of a man that ever lived."
"That gives only a faint idea of him," said Ben, "but I hate to think of such a wretch. What if he HAD brains and military skill, and all that sort of thing! Give me such men as Van der Werf, and-- What now?"
"Why," said Van Mounen, who was looking up and down the street in a bewildered way. "We've walked right past the museum, and I don't see the boys. Let us go back."
The boys met at the museum and were soon engaged in examining its extensive collection of curiosities, receiving a new insight into Egyptian life, ancient and modern. Ben and Lambert had often visited the British Museum, but that did not prevent them from being surprised at the richness of the Leyden collection. There were household utensils, wearing apparel, weapons, musical instruments, sarcophagi, and mummies of men, women, and cats, ibexes, and other creatures. They saw a massive gold armlet that had been worn by an Egyptian king at a time when some of these same mummies, perhaps, were nimbly treading the streets of Thebes; and jewels and trinkets such as Pharaoh's daughter wore, and the children of Israel borrowed when they departed out of Egypt.
There were other interesting relics, from Rome and Greece, and some curious Roman pottery which had been discovered in digging near The Hague--relics of the days when the countrymen of Julius Caesar had settled there. Where have they not settled? I for one would hardly be astonished if relics of the ancient Romans should someday be found deep under the grass growing around the Bunker Hill monument.
When the boys left this museum, they went to another and saw a wonderful collection of fossil animals, skeletons, birds, minerals, precious stones, and other natural specimens, but as they were not learned men, they could only walk about and stare, enjoy the little knowledge of natural history they possessed, and wish with all their hearts they had acquired more. Even the skeleton of the mouse puzzled Jacob. What wonder? He was not used to seeing the cat-fearing little creatures running about in their bones--and how could he ever have imagined their necks to be so queer?