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' A spacious platform was erecteil, in the middle of the area of the town, and in front of the vicar's dwelling, raised about three feet from the ground. In the evening four bonfires were lighted, two being on each side of the stage, and soon afterwards the performers made their appearance. The story which forms the basis of this amusement is invariably the same; the parts, however, are not written, and are to be supplied by the actors; but these, from practice, know more or less what they are to say. The scene is a ship at sea, which, during part of the time, is sailing regularly and gently along; but in the latter part of the voyage she is in distress. The cause of the badness of the weather remains for a long time unknown; but at last the persons who are on, board discover that it has arisen from the devil, who is in the ship, under the disguise of the mizzen-topmast-man. The persons represented, are The Captain,
The Pilot or Mate,
'Two clowns ;
Twelve men and buys, who are dancers and singers, stand on the stage, six of them being on each side of it; and the leader of the chorus sits at the back of the stage with a guitar, with which he keeps the time, and this person is sometimes assisted by a second guitar player. A ship is made for the occasion; and when the performers stepped on to the platform, the vessel appeared at a distance under full sail, coming towards us upon wheels, which were concealed. As soon as the ship arrived near to the stage it stopped, and the performance commenced. The men and boys who were to sing and to dance were dressed in white jackets and trowsers; they had ribbons tied round their ancles and arms, and upon their heads they wore long paper caps, painted of various colours. The guitar player commenced with one of the favourite airs of the country, and the chorus followed him, dancing at the same time. The number of voices being considerable, and the evening extremely calm, the open air was rather advantageous than the contrary. The scene was striking, for the bonfires threw sufficient light to allow of our seeing the persons of the performers distinctly; but all beyond was dark, and they seemed to be inclosed by a spacious dome; the crowd of persons who were near to the stage was great, and as the fires were stirred and the fame became brighter, more persons were seen beyond on every side ; and at intervals the horses which were standing still far. ther off, waiting for their masters.
When the chorus retired, the captain and other superior officers came forward, and a long and serious conversation ensued upon the state of the ship and the weather. These actors were dressed in old uniforms of the irregular troops of the country. They were succeeded by the boatswain and the two clowns; the former gave his orders, to which the two latter made so many objections that the officer was provoked to strike one of them, and much coarse wit passed between the three. Soon afterwards came the chaplain in his gown, and his breviary in his
hand; and he was as much the butt of the clowns, as they were of the rest of the performers. The most scurrilous language was used by them to himn; he was abused, and was taxed with almost every irregularity possible. The jokes became at last so very indecent, as to make the vicar order his doors to be shut. The dancers came on at each change of scene if I may so say. I went home soon after the vicar's doors were closed, and did not see the conclusion; but the matter ended by throwing the devil overboard, and reaching the port in safety. The performers do not expect payment, but rather consider themselves complimented in being sent for. They were tradesmen of several descriptions residing at Pasmado, and they attend on these occasions to act the fan-, dangos, if requested so to do; but if not, many of them would most probably go to enjoy any other sport wbich the festival might afford. We paid their expenses, and gave them their food during their stay; they were accompanied by their families, which were all treated in the same manner, to the number of about forty persons.'-(pp. 324--325.)
The ant, which is so great a pest in this part of America that it used to be called the king of Brazil
, infests Itamaraca more perhaps than any other province. Barlæus says that it was barren in some parts ob fornicurum perpetuas populationes, quas insula maximè experitur. The large red ant, which is from a quarter of an inch to an inch in length, and inflicts a painful bite, lives, according to Mr. Koster, wholly on vegetable food. It is so pecu-, liarly destructive to the mandioc as to have obtained the name of formiga de roça; the word roça, which originally signified any piece of cultivated ground, being at present applied exclusively in Pernambuco to å plantation of mandioc. The mandioc is planted upon hillocks ; Mr. Koster had planted a considerable quantity in low marshy ground, where the earth was so moist, that the water stood in the furrows round the bottom of every billock, securing them as he supposed from the ants; one afternoon he went to see the field, and to his astonishment perceived that some of the plants were stript of their leaves : for some minutes it puzzled him to conceive by what means the enemy could have invaded them, till he discovered that they had formed a bridge of leaves and were passing to and fro. As these destructive insects infested his garden and his house he made war upon them vigorously, cut away a bank till
their nests were laid open, and then destroyed them with fire. Their nests were circular holes of about six inches in diameter, having one or more passages to the surface, but not all communicating with each other: and these holes contained a grey substance which in appearance resembled cobwebs closely pressed together ; when squeezed in the hand it left a moisture. Mr. Koster found them extremely troublesome during the rains; they would then make their way between the bricks and the floor. They were evidently, avoiding the wet at these times : perhaps the easiest mode of de
stroying them would be by making deep holes with a stake as near their nests as possible, just as the rains set in,-as is done in England at the commencement of winter when land is to be cleared of ant hills.
A very diminutive black ant, the smallest of the species, is so determined and so dreadful an enemy to the large red ant, that the Brazilians have engaged it in their service as an ally. It makes its nest in trees; so the inhabitants encourage colonies to settle upon the orange and other fruit trees, which they defend most effectually against the red enemy. Mr. Koster has seen the entrance to the nest of the reds surrounded by the dead of both parties, and always observed that the slain of the red outnumbered those of the black, though in the action the black are always far most numerous. It must be to their numbers that they owe their superiority, not to any more effectual means of offence, for if the bite of the insect were venomous it would become itself a nuisance in the fruit trees. The small red and the small black species are carnivorous, and the former has the most offensive smell of the whole tribe, though they all emit a most unpleasant odour. This indeed is so strong in some of the English species that we have known the currants upon a garden wall rendered not eatable by their frequently walking over them. Kolbe relates that the Hottentots used for their pottery the mould of ant-bills well cleansed of sand and gravel, and afterwards kneaded with the bruised eggs of the insect,
by which the pupa is meant: this animal matter, he says, produced in the baking a cement which diffused itself through the whole mass, bound it firmly, and gave a permanent colour of jet-black. It appears from that strange composition, Suwarrow's Catechism, that the Russian soldiers take ants medicinally; and in Sweden they are distilled with rye, to flavour some inferior kinds of brandy. Either Mr. Kirby, or Mr. Spence, tells us from experience that instead of having any unpleasant favour, the ant is very agreeably acid,--aud that the taste of the trunk and abdomen is different. Hitherto, we believe, the formic acid is chiefly known among scientific men in Europe, but in some countries it serves for condiment and for medicine. The Brazilians, perhaps, may not be easily persuaded to use them as either; but they may lessen the vumber of these formidable enemies by encouraging, instead of destroying, the inoffensive and useful tamandua,—and by - rearing those kinds of poultry who greedily devour the ant in its perfect or in its pupa state.
The termites also infest Itamaraca. Certain kinds of timber are more liable to their attacks than others. Mr. Koster's house was not built of the best kind; he was advised to besmear with treacle the places where they attempted to throw up their covered ways,
and this prescription answered its purpose. The amphisbæna is often found in ant-hills: in Brazil it is called cobra de duas cabeças, the two-headed snake. Mr. Koster describes it as eighteen inches in length, and about the thickness of the little finger of a child four or five years old. Both extremities, he says, are in appearance exactly similar to each other, and when the reptile is touched it raises both, and forms a circle or loop to strike that which has molested it. They appear,' he says, 'to be perfectly blind, for they never alter their course to avoid any object until they come in contact with it, and then without turning about they crawl away in an opposite direction. The colour is grey inclining to white, and they are said to be venomous. An opinion prevails that whoever has been bit by the boa constrictor has nothing to fear from that of any other snake: were the boa venomous, or did its bite produce any visible effect beyond that of a mere wound, it might be supposed that, like the vaccine infection, it secured the systein against a stronger poison ;-as this is not the case, the notion is probably a mere prejudice. The cow-pox was introduced in Itamaraca during Mr. Koster's residence there, but with a more fatal result than has any where else attended it. None of those who were vaccinated were in danger, but the infection spread, ten or twelve persons died of it, and the evil was only stopt by the inoculation of great numbers of the inhabitants:—it is no slight proof of their good sense that they submitted to this means of preservation.
The bite of the scorpion produced in Mr. Koster violent pain, but of short duration, then a numbness in the hand (the part bitten) during the remainder c: the day. The only application which he used was lemon juice. The neighbours accounted for its affecting him so slightly by the state of the moon; when the moon is strong' they believe that the effect of animal poisons is more violent. A black whom the Mandingo negroes had cured of the bite of a rattlesnake suffered great pain in bis limbs at the full and change of the moon, and sometimes the wound opened and remained in that state for weeks together. Consumption is believed to be infectious, and the belief leads to shocking consequences : for not only is all communication cut off between the unhappy sufferer and the rest of the family, but, a hovel,' Mr. Koster tells us, is erected at a distance from any habitation, and the miserable patient is removed to it, and shunned by every one, even receiving his food without the bearer approaching the hovel. It is as much the duty of the clergy as of the medical men to prevent this disgraceful and inhuman custom. During his abode at Jaguaribe, the author bad a third attack of ague, for which he confided himself to the care of an old mulatta, who had the reputation of being a witch, and might with much propriety have been selected to sit for one by a painter. VOL. XVI. NO. XXXII. в в
She gave him the seeds of the pinham, which are used by the peasants as an emetic, and the dose which she administered was such, that a practitioner in Recife said he should have imagined it would have killed any person. It acted most violently, and left an excessive weakness, but it removed the disorder. She afterwards applied the bark of the mutambu tree to the stomach, to prevent an induration of the spleen. It is to be regretted that Mr. Koster was not acquainted with botany, and with other branches of natural history. Men who possess this knowledge are too apt to despise as trivial many details which in themselves are interesting, and frequently prove of importance in their application;—but if it had been joined to Mr. Koster's extraordinary habits of observation, he might have added as much to science, as he has to our knowledge of the moral state of Brazil. It is no light praise to say that he frequently reminds us of Dampier.
of the remaining topics in this volume, that of slavery is the only one which we have room to notice. There is no Christian country in which the condition of slavery has obtained so many mitigations as in Brazil. Besides the Sabbath, the kalendar gives the slave thirty-five holidays in the course of the year: and the law, not less wise than humane, compels the master to manumit him for the price at which he was first purchased, or his present value, if it be greater than the prime cost. In some of our own islands, every manumission is charged with a fine of one hundred pounds currency, which is intended to act as a prohibition, and renders the state of slavery perpetual and hopeless! The law is sometimes evaded in Brazil; but general opinion is deeidedly in its favour: the priests, who in this respect deserve the highest commendation, give it the whole of their influence; and though the master might set the law at defiance, public feeling cannot so easily be despised. In
general, therefore, the slave who has earned enough to purchase his freedom, obtains it without difficulty. A woman who has reared ten children is entitled to her freedom; but this regulation, Mr. Koster says, is generally evaded; and of course it cannot often be claimed. Many slaves are manumitted at the death of their masters ; and wealthy persons often indulge in this most gratifying mode of cha
during their lives. There is another law by which the entail of slavery is very frequently cut off. If the sum of five pounds (twenty milreas) is offered at the baptismal font, the master must manumit the child: this sum is often paid when the father is a freeman; and often also by the sponsors,--the mother, frequently in hope of this bounty, soliciting some persons of consideration to take upon them this spiritual relationship to the child ;-in Brazil it is considered as such. By these various means considerable numbers become free, and it is the peculiar good fortune of the Portugueze colonies