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with shawls and handkerchiefs of all colours tightly stretched over them. Round the room were men and women sitting on temporary benches, with children squatting on the ground in every vacant interstice and corner. The centre was completely filled with young girls and lads, dancing some simple figure, and occasionally "setting" to each other and snapping their fingers. Alternately a woman and a man, whilst dancing, sang, in a monotonous nasal tone and high key, what we were told were extemporaneous verses. A guitar was played by one who managed to thread his way amongst the thick crowd of dancers and to play at the same time with much dexterity. The dancers were not graceful. The old men and women did not join, but looked on with much seeming interest. There were no such accompaniments as would have been supplied under similar circumstances in England; nothing synonymous with beer and pipes. But what is a similar scene in England? We must go back to the middle ages to find a parallel, for this is part of a religious festival patronized and kept up by the priests.*
Mr. Brand in his Popular Antiquities quotes the following verses from Barnaby Googe, which refer to some such popular
FESTIVAL OF THE HOLY GHOST.
For several weeks these dancing parties have been held in the different towns of the various islands we have visited. The cottages which contain the silver crown and sceptre are, on Saturday and Sunday evenings, filled with dancers from six o'clock until midnight. We have not had an opportunity of witnessing the ceremonies in the churches, but the following is the description of the festival, which is given by Dr. Webster, in his excellent account of the Island of St. Michael's.
Among the amusements of the peasantry at this time, is the festa do Espirito Santo,' a festival of the Holy Ghost, which takes place in every parish, and continues seven weeks. On each Sunday, during high mass, the priest places a crown of silver on the head, and a sceptre in the hand, of a peasant previously elected by the people. He is proclaimed "Emperadór,” and is
amusement, commemorative like this of a most solemn circumstance, the descent of the Holy Ghost.
"On Whit-Sunday whyte pigeons tame in strings from heaven flie,
And one that framed is of wood still hangeth in the skie; Thou seest how they with idols plaie, and teach the people
None other wise than little gyrles with puppets used to do."
FESTIVAL OF THE HOLY GHOST.
conducted to a seat beneath a canopy, prepared for him on one side of the church, where he sits during the remainder of the service. On leaving the church, a crowd attends him, strewing the roads along which he passes with flowers, and, in return, he bestows his blessings upon them by flourishing his consecrated sceptre.
"It is usual for the emperador to have his cottage repaired, painted, and white-washed, if he can afford it, or decorated with branches of myrtle and flowers, to receive the numerous guests who return with him to the church, to dance and sing till late at night. The crown and sceptre are always deposited in the best room in the house, on a salver of silver, and tapers are kept burning about them. The dancing and singing are repeated every Sunday evening. In every parish, there is a rude stone building erected in the most public road, the floor of which is elevated some feet from the ground, and an open arch on each side supports the roof. On the last, or seventh Sunday, of this festival, the emperador, early in the morning, takes his seat in this "theatro," as it is called; a table is placed before him, on which are bread and wine, and on his right and left are two or three of his
FESTIVAL OF THE HOLY GHOST.
He remains here till night,
during which time the pious bring offerings of bread, wine, eggs, and poultry to be blessed by him. A certain portion of these is divided among the donors, and the remainder distributed in the evening to the poor. On the same day the populace elect the emperador for the ensuing year, to whom the crown and sceptre are delivered; he takes them home, and deposits them in a room prepared for their reception. The house of the emperador elect is open every Sunday till the next festival, on which he is publicly crowned and proclaimed; during this time it is the weekly, resort of all his friends and acquaintance, who engage in dancing, singing, and various rustic
The consummate worldly wisdom is unquestionable with which the church of Rome adapts herself to popular habits and manners, however various, making herself all things to all men, so that she may win them. Here all the amusements of the poor are intimately connected with their religion. From one end of the year to another, there is a series of religious processions and
* Description of the Island of St. Michael's, 1821, by Dr. Webster, Boston, United States, p. 71.
AMUSEMENTS FOR THE POOR.
observances, embodying, in a rude way enough, the great events in the life of our Saviour, or circumstances, often entirely fabulous, in the history of saints. At one time, every boy is armed with a squirt to celebrate one event, or with a hammer to mark another, and now these dances are going on for a couple of months in remembrance of a third. Similar scenes were once passing in England, the traces alone of which now exist, hidden in a few customs and observances, whose origin is only known to the antiquary. But with all our progress in riches and in science, what recreations are there in the nineteenth century for that large class, the laborious and untaught, who need amusement, and will have some kind or other? There are a few manly games for strong and active young men; and for the rest, fairs and mountebanks, dancers on tight-ropes, drinking-booths, stalls of figs and gingerbread, travelling circuses, locomotive theatres, horse racing, with such in-door amusements as gin-shops, beer-shops, and public-house taps most abundantly supply.
June 30th.-To-day we have shifted our abode. The mode of taking lodgings in the valley of the Furnas is as opposite to a similar operation at