The author of this quotation:
Belgium! name unromantic and unpoetic, yet name that whenever uttered has in my ear a sound, in my heart an echo, such as no other assemblage of syllables, however sweet or classic, can produce. Belgium! I repeat the word, now as I sit alone near midnight.
is in fact Charlotte Brontë – but not in Villette, where she refers to the country as “Labassecour” rather than Belgium, and the eponymous “Villette” is pretty obviously Brussels (the boarding school is on the site of what is now the Palais des Beaux-Arts/Paleis voor Schone Kunsten). However, in her earlier novel The Professor she uses much the same plot without bothering to change the names of the setting. I found the quote in Chapter 7, online hereREADER, perhaps you were never in Belgium? Haply you don’t know the physiognomy of the country? You have not its lineaments defined upon your memory, as I have them on mine?
I’m half-way through Villette and enjoying it about as much as I enjoy any novel of that genre; have already survived the first of the notorious plot twists though I understand there were more to come.