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A PARISH CHURCH ABROAD,
one another, at the close of their devotions, that young people make who have finished dancing a quadrille.
A considerable time elapsed before the chapel was cleared; but, when this was accomplished, a general meeting of friends and acquaintances from villages in the neighbourhood took place at the door, where embraces and congratulations, mingled with laughter and merriment, were exchanged on all hands. There were circumstances and associations that called to mind a rural Sunday at home; but there were many others which did so only by contrast. The village churchyards in these islands are never near the church; and, even if they were, the gloomy yew-tree, with its sombre shade, or the white or moss-grown headstones, would be wanting to moderate the noise of such who need the warning of a gravestone to remind them of those who lie below. "The sensations of pious cheerfulness, which attend the celebration of the Sabbath-day in rural places in England, are profitably chastised by the sight of the graves of kindred and friends, gathered together in that general home towards which the thoughtful yet happy spectators themselves are journeying. Hence an English parish church, in
AND A PARISH CHURCH AT HOME. 211
the stillness of the country, is a visible centre of a community of the living and the dead; a point to which are habitually referred the nearest concerns of both.” In addition to the noise among the crowd, its composition was, of course, widely different from all that we find at home. are few more pleasant sights than the emptying of an English church among the fields. But the respectable village matrons, with their clean checked aprons and sober black bonnets; the few "matriarchs" of the place, creeping home with serious faces, velvet shoes, long mittens, and withered arms; the healthy stare of sluggish smock-frocked bumpkins, full of strength and vacancy; yellowhaired-boys, shining from the morning administration of yellow soap; the well-bred occupants of a "squire's pew," as unpretending in dress as in manners; and the country clergyman, with his notable wife and family of thirteen children, who would have streamed from the porch of one of our own village churches, are only to be seen at home. Here, to-day, was a collection from all parts of the island; composed, first of all, of a swarm of peasants, well made and never awkward, whose untiring sprightliness was working itself off in continual gesture and grimace; then
of upper classes gaudily dressed and ostentatiously polite; of the conspicuous well-conducted mistress of the married civil governor, walking, prayer-book in hand, before her handsome servants, as if she were an honest woman; and a village curate, without learning, or wife, or cleanliness, (I was going to say without children,) made conscious of how low a position his profession holds in the estimation of the islanders, by the small notice that even these familiar people condescended to take of him.
The day was a perfect sabbath-day, and the whole crowd of loiterers in the village had so pleasant a holyday-expression, that it seemed as if a large portion of the brightness and sunshine of the sky had been infused into their own hearts, and had there ripened good feelings, and engendered active sympathies.
July 8. These people are of great constitutional sensibility. Tears gush into the eyes of middle-aged stout men as readily as into those of young children; and women have an absolute command of any quantity of the same fluid.
A poor woman at Villa Franca came to us
COMMAND OF TEARS.
one day overwhelmed with grief, sobbing as if her heart would break, the tears running down her cheeks in full streams, and her face the image of the deep distress of childhood. A sack had been stolen, and she feared that her husband, a harsh man, would beat her. Nothing could be more real. Some weeks after we found it was a mere ruse to obtain a trifle. The eyes of mustachioed, fat officials fill with tears on taking leave of a friend on a crowded deck, and common soldiers weep and sob on such occasions, and wave their handkerchiefs to their friends on shore until they are out of sight. In voyaging between the islands such scenes occurred frequently,―men on parting falling on each other's necks, with wet eyes and cheeks.
Their virtues and vices depend considerably on this constitutional sensibility. They are temperate in wine, as if their peculiarly sensitive organization rendered them almost independent of the gratifications of artificial stimulants. Camoens in the Lusiad makes Bacchus the constant enemy of the Portuguese, and Venus in the council of the gods is always their firm friend: an allegory which is equally applicable to these is
landers, for their temperance is confined to strong drinks.*
They are eminently good-tempered, willing to oblige, and fearful to offend; merry, inquisitive, and excitable, having the simple tastes, capabilities of being pleased with little things, orderly manners, and strong attachments to the places in which they are born, which belong to a state of society fast passing away. The poor are industrious when they can procure employment, and willing to work hard for a very trifling remuneration. Their laziness is more apparent than real; for when unemployed they spend all their idle time out of doors in the sun. make good boatmen, fishermen, and mechanics, excelling particularly in those arts which require imitation rather than invention. They are said to be inclined to pilfering,-" snappers-up of unconsidered trifles,"--but I cannot say this from
"Tacitus (Vitâ Agricolæ, cap. 4) raram cujusdam fœminæ castitatem laudat. Quid si inter Azoreos vixisset? Prima mali labes, quod dum sacerdos
'Nil ait esse prius, melius nil cœlibe vitâ ;' Nunc tamen
'Alma Venus nunquam molli requiescere somno
Hinc contagio serpit in vulgus."