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adies? What' no pigs for the Señoras 2" An appeal which had such an effect upon the Bolaños beaux, that many a fair mouth soon blew forth its cloud of smoke, relinquished its cigar, and swallowed a “puerco.” Our evening's entertainments—all for the price of three-pence—were concluded by two comedies in front of three sheets, which performed the part of the scenery. One was tolerably good, being a mutilation of Moliere's “Mariage Force:” the other, which was highly applauded, I will not describe. The spectators, although a parcel of Indians and half-casts, the greater part without shirts, would have taught a lesson of quiet and good breeding to our London audiences, much as we pride ourselves on our superior politeness and decorum. I never indeed saw so large a body of people more perfectly wellbehaved, silent, and good-humoured. At Cipiméo– Looking out of my window, I was witness to an infantine amusement which would rather startle English mothers and nurses. A party of little children were diverting themselves with a large rattle-snake, which, in all its vigour, was tied by the middle to the lash of a small whip, while the delighted urchins were teasing it with pieces of sticks, which they presented to be bitten. Being a novice to this species of fun, and not liking the angry rattles or savage springs of the reptile, I asked the merry little group to kill it: but my proposition was in vain, and they ran off to enjoy their dangerous play-thing uninterrupted.
Having left Mexico for Real del Monte, observes Captain Lyon:
We rode about two miles E.N.E. over a fine broad causeway, which brought us into the celebrated sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. It was too late to see the church without express permission of the Sacristan, who was at dinner; but when I preferred my request, he readily granted it, and sent a little boy to do the honours of the place. His first care on entering the church, was to light a number of tapers in front of the curtain which hid the miraculous picture; and, after a pause, he carefully drew up the envious veil which shrouded the painting by a “ Divine Hand” from the gaze of the careless or profane. took advantage of a little ladder placed near the altar, to obtain a closer view of this wonderful production, which is coarsely painted on a closelygrained canvas, previously primed with a white ground. It represents the Virgin with clasped hands, and clothed in a blue cloak covered with gilt stars. Her petticoat is painted in red and gold; and she stands on a large crescent, which is supported by a very ugly little cherub. This
As there was no priest present, I.
picture is peculiar, as having rays diverging from the figure in all directions; and though the colours are faded, and the gold very dull from age and dust, the eyes of the faithful do not fail to see a dazzling and unearthly splendour in the dress and features. The story runs thus:–Soon after the Conquest, a poor untutored Indian, named Juan Diego, while labouring near the foot of the rock Tepeyaca, where the Sanctuary now stands, suddenly heard a peal of music, and saw before him the Blessed Virgin, in the attitude and habiliments of the present picture. The man was very naturally astonished, but more so when the Virgin commanded him to go to the Bishop of Mexico, and desire him to build a chapel to her honour, on that very spot. The Bishop, being a true Catholic, would not believe in heavenly apparitions; he therefore reproved
poor Juan Diego for his credulity, and sent him
away. Again the blessed Virgin appeared, and delivered a more positive command ; but the Bishop once more dismissed the messenger, with threats of punishment for attempting to impose on so pure and undeceiving a religion as that so recently and mildly established in Mexico. The mortified Juan Diego again retired to the rock Tepeyaca, where, for the third time, he tremblingly saw Our Lady, who, with some displeasure, repeated her order, to which the man replied by begging a sign for the unbelieving Bishop. “Go,” said the Blessed Mother of God, “go and climb the rock, and on its hitherto barren summit you will find a token; take it to the Bishop, and he will believe.” Juan obeyed: and although it was in the depth of winter, he found the once-desolate spot covered with the most exquisite flowers in full bloom. Filling, therefore, his Serape, or wrapper, with the miraculous roses, he posted joyously to the Bishop, who called a number of priests to witness the opening of the Serape;—when, lo l as the flowers fell from it to the ground, this identical picture, which I saw, was found imprinted on it by the hand of God' refulgent in beauty, and almost too bright to be gazed upon. Nothing more was required to enforce conviction, a splendid church was erected and endowed to the Patroness of Mexico; immense wealth was offered at her altar; and from that time every part of New Spain sent, and does still send her, annual tribute : and there is no town of note which has not a church open as a sanctuary to all criminals, and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The first chapel was erected on the summit of the little hill of Tepeyaca, and has near it a singularlyshaped turret, so faced with masonry as to represent a ship under sail. But as the fame and riches of the Virgin increased, it was thought fit to erect a larger temple to her honour; and the picture has been removed to the present church at the foot of the hill. This building is large and tawdry, with abundance of silver in balustrades, which, from want of cleaning, look like dirty pewter. Near this is a small chapel, erected over a wonderful and most blessed well of water, celebrated for the cure of all diseases, and sold at a cheap rate to the afflicted. It is enclosed by an iron railing, and is in custody of a reverend man, the appearance of whose nose would imply that he rarely tasted any thing so mild as the fluid under his charge. He also sells to the devout, little books of the established prayers to the idol, together with small crosses, medals, and rosaries, which have touched her blessed figure ; as well as certain slips of narrow red ribband, marked, and purporting to be the length of the Virgin's hands, arms, face, and feet.
The religious prejudices, &c., of the Mexicans are thus displayed in the account of the christening of a young heretic:—
The infant of one of our artificers, to whom I was to be godfather, was to be christened in the church of the Veto Grande ; and as several English children had received that ceremony without opposition or comment in the city of Mexico, no impediments were expected here; the two ceremonies of the Catholic and Protestant churches being, with the exception of language, nearly the same. The day was passed in long letters and objections, which ended in an injunction, that the heretical godfather was not to approach the baptismal font. It was late at night before all was settled, and our party proceeded to church; but as the other English were not permitted to be present at the ceremony, I of course retired with them ; and the child's father, with a native servant, whose knowledge of English condemned him also as a heretic, were turned out with the rest. I walked indignantly home, and was soon followed by those who had waited in the sacristy, bringing the baby; which, after all, was not christened by the name that was intended, but, by some fancy of the very reverend and most christian padre, was called José Bonaventura, after which the intended name Jorge (George) was added.
My retreat very much discomposed the priest and his attendants, who imagined they should make a very good harvest of poor little José Bonaventura's christening ; and while all the business was pending, and I was waiting, in no very good humour, the result of a discussion with which I was tired, the following most agreeable hints were supplied to me, as the intended godfather :—
1st. The church would be splendidly illuminated in honour of the English, for which,
of course, the padre would expect an extra fee .............................. Dollars 12 2ndly. The organist intended doing himself the honour of playing an anthem after the ceremony ............ 4 3rdly. The sacristan, on so joyful an occasion, could not possibly be presented with a smaller sum than ...... 4 4thly. A notary, from a disinterested wish to render the ceremony as respectable as possible, would have the pleasure of being present to register it.................................... 4 5thly. Two little choristers would put on their red cloaks in honour of the event....................................... 4 6thly. A scramble of medios (silver threepences) were to be thrown by the delighted padrino amongst the joyous crowd.............................. 10 7thly. Medios, spick-and-span new, were, according to an old custom, to be presented to every acquaintance and decent person in the crowd" ......... 10
To say nothing of the gifts which I was to make to the native godmothers; one of whom, the fat old housekeeper, rustling in black silks, and smoking like a furnace, I did make happy by the present of a Birmingham comb, in the form of a tiara.
Had the young Christian been the child of a prince, he could not have created a greater sensation ; but as both father and godfather had been expelled the Catholic temple, no one was present to answer the demands after the baptism. The organ gave forth no joyous peal, the notary did not make his appearance; and although the sacristan and choristers remained in their full uniform, no one was found to reward them for their attention. At last, to the total discomfiture and astonishment of the padre, the discovery was made, that the babe was the son of a stone-mason, and that he would be paid accordingly
At Tula, the funeral of an infant ocCurs :
Our lodging was opposite the church, at which, hearing music in the evening, I found a crowd of people, with a young woman, who was bearing on her head a little dead child, dressed in coloured papers, so arranged as to represent a robe, and tied to a board by a white handker. chief. Round the body were stuck a profusion of artificial flowers; the face was uncovered, and
* This gift is also usual at weddings, and is called “Bola.”
the little hands tied together, as if in prayer. A fidler and a man playing on a guitar accompanied the crowd to the church-door; and the mother having entered for a few minutes, again appeared with her child, and walked off, accompanied by her friends, to the burying-place.
The father followed, with another man, who assisted him, with a lighted piece of wood, in throwing up hand-rockets, of which he bore a large bundle under his arm. The whole ceremony was one of cheerfulness and gaiety, since all children who die young are supposed to escape purgatory, and to become “angelitos”" at once. I was informed that the burial would be followed by a fandango, in token of rejoicing that the babe had been taken from this world. It is, doubtless, the duty of Christians to be resigned to their afflictions; but I am sure that few Englishwomen would carry their first and only infant to its grave, with smiling countenances; and I equally can answer for the inability of the men to throw up rejoicing rockets when their first-born is taken from them.
At page 217, we offered a general view of “Proceedings of the Earpedition to explore the Northern Coast of Africa, &c. &c., by Capt. T. W. Beechey, R.N., F.R.S., and H. W. Beechey, Esq., F.S.A.,” and now we shall make one or two additional extracts from the work. Respecting the sands of the desert, the writers thus express themselves:—
We are not, however, inclined to attribute quite so much to the overwhelming properties of sand, as many other travellers have done; and we do not think that the danger of being actually buried, will appear, on consideration, to be altogether so great, to those who are crossing sandy deserts, as writers of high respectability have asserted. The sand which encounters a body in motion, would pass it, we should imagine, without accumulation; and the quantity which might even be heaped upon sleepers, could scarcely be more than they might easily shake offin waking. We shudder at the dreadful accounts which have been recorded of whole caravans, and whole armies, destroyed by these formidable waves of the desert; and when our pity is strongly excited by such relations, we are seldom inclined to analyse them very deeply. But a little reflection would probably convince us that many of these are greatly exaggerated: some, because the writers believed what they related ; ; and some, because they wished their readers to believe what they might not be quite convinced of themselves.
* Little angels.
In fact, we think it probable that they who have perished in deserts, from the time of the Psylli and Cambyses to the present, have died, as is usual, before they were buried, either from violence, thirst, or exhaustion. The idea in question has, however, become very general; and we can neither attribute much blame to the reader who believes what is related on respectable authority, or to the writer who simply informs us of what he himself considers to be true. To him whose only view is to excite interest by exaggeration, we may, at least, say it seems to be superfluous: for the hardships and dangers of a journey over the sandy desert may be fully sufficient to satisfy the most adventurous, and to exhaust the most robust, without calling up the airy forms of imaginary horrors, to lengthen out the line of those which really present themselves. But if the desert have terrors peculiar to itself, it has also its peculiar pleasures. There is something imposing, we may say sublime, in the idea of unbounded space, which it occasionally presents; and every trifling object which appears above its untenanted surface, assumes an interest which we should not on other occasions attribute to objects of much greater importance. The little romance which its stillness and solitude encourage, is at the same time grateful to the feelings; and one may here dream delightfully of undisturbed tranquillity and independence, and of freedom from all the cares, follies, and vices of the world. Whenever the wind is cool, without being too strong, the purity of the air is at once refreshing and exhilarating; and, if his stock of water be not very low, the traveller feels disposed to be well pleased with every thing."
The subjoined account of an interview with the Shekh of Mesurata has considerable interest:
Soon after our arrival, the Shekh of Mesurata, Belcázi, came to pay us his visit of ceremony. He was accompanied by Shekh Mahommed el Dubbah, and attended by a train of mounted Arabs, tolerably well armed with long guns and pistols. The splendid attire of Shekh Belcázi, displayed to advantage by a large and handsome person, threw far into the shade the less imposing costume and figure of his companion.
* These solitary enjoyments are by no means overdrawn; every traveller accustomed to desert journeys must have experienced them : and the late lamented Burckhardt has frequently been heard to declare “that his most pleasant hours in travelling have been passed in the desert.”
It consisted of three cloth waistcoats, richly embroidered with gold, and a pair of most capacious crimson silk trowsers, bound tight round his waist, which was none of the slenderest, by many an ell of handsome shawl. Over this, notwithstanding the heat of the day, he had thrown, in ample folds, a large white barracan, and above this a heavy red cloth burnoos, the hood of which was pulled over eight or ten yards of muslin rolled round his head as a turban. The eyelids of the Shekh had been carefully painted with the sable powder usually employed for that purpose, and which is considered, even by men, in the regency of Tripoli, to be absolutely requisite on occasions of ceremony. The tips of his fat and gentlemanly-looking fingers were at the same time stained with henna; and, as the dye had been recently and copiously applied, would decidedly have made those of Aurora look pale. While the Shekh had been thus minutely attentive to his own person, that of his horse had by no means been neglected ; for his bridle was of crimson silk, embroidered with gold, and his scarlet saddle-cloth displayed a broad edging of gold lace: the saddle itself was of rich crimson velvet, and the high back and pommel, which appeared through the saddle-cloth, were also thickly embroidered with gold. A broad band of gold lace was stretched across his chest, and a large and thick tassel of crimson silk and gold (which might have served a Grand Cross of the Bath), together with a numerous collection of charms, were suspended from the neck of the animal. The large gilt Mameluke stirrups, kept in constant motion by the rider, flashed gaily in the beams of the sun, which were glanced off in many a brilliant sparkle from this glittering assemblage of precious metal. If Phoebus himself had appeared in all his splendour, mounted on one of his gayest chariot horses, he could scarcely have been more an object of admiration and wonder in the eyes of the humble and unassuming crowd of Arabs which had assembled to witness the show, than Shekh Belcázi and his charger were on this occasion. We dare not guess how the lady of our honest friend the Dubbah would have supported this splendid exhibition, in which her husband was so completely eclipsed; but we thought that the eyes of Shekh Mahommed himself did occasionally wander to the shining masses by his side, with something like an expression of jealousy. If it were so, however, the glance only found its way through the corners of the Dubbah's orbs of vision; for his head kept its post with becoming solemnity, and was never once turned towards those objects of his envy, to which all other eyes were so fully directed. It must at the same
time be allowed, that the toilet of the Shekh Mahommed had been much more attended to than usual. He had made a temporary adjournment from his usual only garment to a white cotton shirt of very decent exterior, over which he had carefully arranged a clean-looking white barracan; and he had drawn from the innermost recesses of his saddle bags a new white burnoos of no ordinary texture, which he persuaded himself to substitute for the old and coarse brown one he had hitherto worn on the road." His saddle-case was now observed to be of crimson morocco, a circumstance with which we were not before acquainted, for it had, hitherto, on
the journey, been turned inside out, or more properly speaking, with the outer side in, to prevent it from being soiled, and from fading in the sun. His saddle-cloth, also, which had hitherto consisted of a dirty piece of white flannel, was now of bright scarlet cloth; and, besides the embroidered covers to his silver em
bossed pistols, he had carefully suspended from
different parts of his body a great variety of little bags, of different colours and sizes: these were the repositories of his powder and ball, and car
ried tinder, flints, and steel, money, nails, and
tobacco, with sundry other little matters, too
numerous to mention. By his side also hung a neat little smaat, or goat skin, with the long black
hairs left to ornament and protect the outside;
and which, properly speaking, was meant to
hold water, but which likewise served indif. ferently for holding milk, oil, or butter, or any
other substance which it might be necessary to carry in it. We should state that, under all this variety of ornament, Shekh Mahommed el Dubbah sat with dignity upon his mare, a re
cently-acquired present from the Bashaw, whose spirit had been previously roused on this occasion by the stimulus of an extra feed of corn.
The display of Arab horsemanship, which concluded the procession, received additional éclat from this precaution; and the Dubbah's mare, after manoeuvring her head to admiration, first on one side, and then on the other, and prancing, and pacing, and rearing, to the delight of the assembled spectators, no sooner felt the angle of the spur assail her sides, than she sprang forwards with a bound in advance of the party, and being suddenly pulled up with a powerful bit, was thrown back upon her haunches, within a foot of our tent-cords. The old Dubbah looked round to enjoy the applause which he
* A coarse brown barracan is on most occasions the only habit of a Bedouin Arab ; but as the rainy season was approaching, Shekh Mahommed had allowed himself the additional covering of the old burnoos we have mentioned. Shirts are seldom worn but on gay occasions.
felt he had deserved for his horsemanship and his mare, from the crowd who had witnessed the exhibition. And the two Shekhs alighted and entered the tent, each apparently well pleased with himself.
Our next and closing extract will display, in a somewhat striking light, the ignorance and superstition of the Arab character. Let our male readers, in future, beware of ladies with large, black, and rolling eyes! A young woman, who resided near the tents, was attacked, after eating a quantity of bazeen (the common food of the lower classes of Arabs) with a violent headache and pain in the stomach; and a celebrated Marábut, who had lately arrived at Mesurata, was called in to administer his assistance. The holy man did not refuse to comply with the summons; and when he made his appearance at the door of her tent, Mr. Campbell, and such of our party who were near, were led by curiosity to the same place; and taking up, unperceived, an advantageous position, were able to understand, with the assistance of the interpreter, the whole of the conversation that ensued. The Shereef (for he claimed, or possessed, the distinction) was no sooner made acquainted with the case, than he assumed a most mysterious air; and began by declaring to his suffering patient, that she was possessed by an underground spirit. He then proceeded to state, as the cause of this misfortune, that before doing something (which our party could not distinctly make out) she had omitted to say Bismillah (in the name of God), a form always used by good and pious Mahommedans, to draw down a blessing upon whatever they are about to do. This omission (he declared) had been the cause of her dropping some water upon the head of the spirit's child, who was passing beneath her (under ground) at the time; and the justly-enraged gnome had in consequence leaped into her, and was now in the act of tormenting her for the crime. Our party of listeners could hardly contain themselves at this most ingenious discovery of the Shereef; but all the Arabs within the tent believed it most fully, and the poor girl herself began to cry bitterly, and bewail her hard fate and most unlucky omission. The Marábut, however, now bade her take comfort, and assured her that the case, though undoubtedly a serious one, was not altogether without a remedy. He accordingly called up a severe and commanding look, and, in a tone of authority, ordered the spirit to leave her. As the pain still continued without intermission, it was evident that this personage was not inclined to obey; and the holy man then pronounced him a most obstinate
spirit, and told him that he knew of his having entered the woman long before she had sent for his assistance : he added, however, that he was determined to conquer him, and would not quit his patient till morning. At the same time he acknowledged that the task would be very difficult, for he could clearly perceive that the woman was wicked: he knew it, he said, by the breadth of her shoulders, and the uncommon blackness of her large rolling eyes, which were even larger and blacker than those of one of his own wives, whom he knew to be a very sinful wo— man. In the morning it happened that the poor girl was better, and the fame of the Marábut was widely diffused; but whether her recovery was owing to the holy man's exertions, or to a copious draught of medicine administered by Mr. Campbell, we will leave to the decision of our readers.
It is surprising how small a quantity of poetry—of poetry in the strict sense of the word—has appeared within the last two or three years. Now and then a slight volume presents itself—graceful, perhaps, and flowing in its numbers; but, of real poetry, little indeed has appeared since the death of Byron. Some agreeable trifles, however, we have to notice; and it may not be amiss to mention as a proof that the appetite for what is good in verse has not actually abated, that “ The Ommipresence of the Deity, by Robert Montgomery,” reviewed with considerable approbation in a preceding sheet (page 175) has already reached its fourth edition. Amongst the many ephemeral productions of the Muse, occasioned by the death of the late Premier, the one most entitled to notice was “A Tribute in Verse to the Character of the late Right Hon. G. Canning, &c. &c., by the Rev. Rann Kennedy, A.M.” Of course Mr. Kennedy's verse is eulogistic. We offer a fair specimen:— In thy career, although 'twas scarce begun, A glorious age anticipation run. No length of years, to crown thy living head, Could win more wreaths than on thy tomb are spread. A part are flowers from Hope's prolific tree, Fair budding flowers, which owed their growth to thee, And many a trophy to thy clay is brought, For deeds but imaged, while it breath'd and thought. Thy very wishes to thy fame shall rise, Wherever known by all the good and wise, And shine recorded in their tearful eyes