"That is on the Breedstraat. To the museum let it be. Come, boys!"
"This open square before us," said Lambert, as he and Ben walked on together, "is pretty in summer, with its shady trees. They call it the Ruine. Years ago it was covered with houses, and the Rapenburg Canal, here, ran through the street. Well, one day a barge loaded with forty thousand pounds of gunpowder, bound for Delft, was lying alongside, and the bargemen took a notion to cook their dinner on the deck, and before anyone knew it, sir, the whole thing blew up, killing lots of persons and scattering about three hundred houses to the winds."
"What!" exclaimed Ben. "Did the explosion destroy three hundred houses!"
"Yes, sir, my father was in Leyden at the time. He says it was terrible. The explosion occurred just at noon and it was like a volcano. All this part of the town was on fire in an instant, buildings tumbling down and men, women, and children groaning under the ruins. The king himself came to the city and acted nobly, Father says, staying out in the streets all night, encouraging the survivors in their efforts to arrest the fire and rescue as many as possible from under the heaps of stone and rubbish. Through his means a collection for the benefit of the sufferers was raised throughout the kingdom, besides a hundred thousand guilders paid out of the treasury. Father was only nineteen years old then. It was in 1807, I believe, but he remembers it perfectly. A friend of his, Professor Luzac, was among the killed. They have a tablet erected to his memory, in Saint Peter's Church, farther on--the queerest thing you ever saw, with an image of the professor carved upon it, representing him just as he looked when he was found after the explosion."
"What a strange idea! Isn't Boerhaave's monument in Saint Peter's also?"
"I cannot remember. Perhaps Peter knows."
The captain delighted Ben by saying that the monument was there and that he thought they might be able to see it during the day.
"Lambert," continued Peter, "ask Ben if he saw Van der Werf's portrait at the town hall last night?"