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night in the open air. They then departed as they came, without uttering a word. The next morning, the same group hied again to the ruined church, and, after performing the morning service, eagerly, yet hesitatingly, hastened to the spot to ascertain the effect of the charn, and to learn who were to be their future husbands. With pious care they took down the vase and opened it, and each in a small vessel dipped out some of the water with her own apple. Every one then, after making three signs of the cross, fervently uttered the following prayer :“Great and good St. John, ordain if I am to wed the man of my heart, this vessel may turn to the right, and if he is not to be my husband, that it may turn to the left.” After this address, the eldest of the girls clasped her hands together, in such a manner that her two thumbs projected above, inclining outwards at the same time, while another of the girls placed herself immediately before her, and did the same. On these four thurnbs, thus arranged, was placed the vessel containing the secret water and the charmed apple, and it was then held up at arm's length to see which way it would turn. In this manner, each one in succession consulted the oracle, and each was thoroughly convinced that the vessel turned either to the right or to the left, by the special agency of St. John. It was interesting to see the air of sadness, or exultation, of these simple votaries, according as the vessel had pronounced the disappointment or accomplishment of their innocent anticipations."
A curious custom in France, connected with this period, and called The Black Wedding of Bas Poitou, is thus recorded in the Literary Gazette :
“In the marshes of Bas-Poitou, in France, there still exists a singular custom, which may be traced to the ceremonies of the Egyptians and other people of the highest antiquity. The country of Bas-Poitou
is subject to annual inundations; and, froni autumn to spring, the inhabitants can neither leave their houses nor return to them, but in small flat-bottomed boats, which the least gust of wind will upset : these punts, as they may be called, are made of a few planks, nailed together, stopped, and pitched, and are much less safe and ingenious in their construction than the justly-admired canoes of the savages, hollowed out of the branch of a single tree. Wood is extremely scarce in this part of the coun'try; and as it is very difficult, and often impossible, to convey it hither, the ingenuity of the inhabitants has been taxed to find a substitute for it in a fuel by which they may keep themselves warm in the winter, and prepare their food throughout the year. From time immemorial, the inhabitants of these marshes have had their peculiar fuel : it consists of the dung of their animals dried and prepared, which supplies the place of wood. During the year, they take care to pile up this dung in the pastures, and to make heaps of it near their houses. About the time of the Feast of St. John, the grand manufacture of this simple fuel takes place, and the event is. celebrated with universal rejoicing-with the keeping of what is called the Black Wedding. Several families, men, women, children, masters, men-servants, and maid-servants, meet together, in different parts, to make the dung into fuel: they moisten it with water, and employ the oxen to break and tread it; straw is cut up and mixed with it, to give it a consistency; they next form it into cakes, and spread it out in the pastures and by the sides of their houses to dry: they afterwards put it up in piles, and burn it in the same manner as turf, and it answers every purpose of that useful fuel. The produce of this black wedding might be supposed to emit a disagreeable odour, and to be otherwise unpleasant to the inhabitants; but long practice has
enabled the women to manage it so skilfully, that with the addition of some small wood and a little straw, a bright good fire is made, without much smoke or smell. The days which are devoted to the preparation of the dung are considered festival days throughout the country. The people occupy themselves with alacrity and cheerfulness in this important manufacture; and their labour, which is frequently extended to a late hour in the evening, is sweetened by recreation : it is always followed by the song and the dance, and the toils of the day are washed down by copious draughts of wine. The rich people and the great laudholders invite their friends and neighbours to this wedding : it is a season devoted to joy and equality. These meetings and rural fêtes are called the black weddings, either on account of the peculiar occupation in which the peasants are engaged, because they put on their dirtiest and worst clothes, -or on account of the rejoicings being carried on in the night. Whatever may be the origin of the name, it is quite as appropriate as that of the green day given to feasts held in the spring, at which nothing was eaten that was not peculiar to the season.”
29.-ST. PETER. This apostle, born at Bethsaida, was the son of Jonas, and brother of St. Andrew. His first name was Simon, but when our Saviour called him to the apostleship, he changed his name into Cephas, that is, in Syriac, a stone, or a rock; in Latin, petra, whence Peter. He was a married man, and had in his house, his mother-in-law, and his wife at Capernaum, upon the lake of Gennesareth. Peter was remarkable for bis zeal, which he displayed upon many occasions, particularly in the garden, when his master was apprehended, on which occasion he drew his sword, and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. But when he entered the hall of
Caiaphus, and was recognised as one of the disciples, he repeatedly denied the charge, till the cock crew, and then remembering our Lord's prediction, that before the cock crew twice he would deny him thrice, Peter went out and wept. After the ascension of our Saviour, he preached a famous sermon at Jerusalem, by which some thousands were converted. He was thrown into prison by Herod Agrippa, in the year 44, from whence he was released by an angel. During the persecution of Nero, in 66, he suffered martyrdom by being crucified with his head downwards.
St. Peter's at Rome is splendidly illuminated on the celebration of this day. “ The expense of which (observes the author of Rome in the Nineteenth Century,) and of the girandola, when repeated two successive evenings, as they invariably are, at the festival of St. Peter, is one thousand crowns; when only exhibited one night, they cost seven hundred. Eighty men were employed in the instantaneous illumination of the lamps, which to us seemed the work of enchantment: they were so posted as to be unseen,"
Among the new edifices, erected by His Majesty's Commissioners for building new churches, is a spacious one dedicated to this saint, on Walworth common, a short distance from Camberwell turnpike.
In June, 1830.
A dazzling point emerges from the sea;
It is the hour of poon: the god of day
SOLAR PHENOMENA. The Sun enters Cancer at 50 m. past 11 in the morning of the 21st of this month, according to the tabular zodiac; his position in the zodiac of nature is between Propus, a small star in the Via Lactea, and n in Gemini; the distance of his centre from the equinoctial is on this day equal to the obliquity of the ecliptic.
The Sun having attained his greatest northern declination, all within the arctic circle enjoys perpetual day; at the verge of this circle, his orb just sinks below the horizon, and instantly re-ascends ; while at the antarctic circle, he rises for an instant and then disappears, leaving all within its boundary to the gloom and dreariness of their long wintry night, in some degree compensated by the almost constant presence of the Moon, the brightly beaming of the stars in Argo Navis, Centaurus, and the Southern Cross, and the brilliant corruscations of the Aurora Australis.
SOLAR SPOTS. Owing to the illuminated atmosphere of the