Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sight; then he goes back to the house to pilfer something more as soon as he can.

Magpies meet together in companies: their meetings are called by villagers folk-motes. If there is an even number of magpies, it is considered a sign of good luck; but if a solitary magpie is seen sitting alone at the time that the other magpies are met together, it is supposed to be a sign of bad luck to the village or to the house.

The poor magpies, however, have nothing to do with good luck or bad luck. There is no such thing as luck. All things are ordered by God.

In winter the leech retires to deep waters, seeking shelter in the mud at the bottom; but in summer it delights in shallow pools, basking in the sun.

The leech makes a case or cocoon for its eggs. This it deposits in the mud of the pool. There are sometimes as many as thirteen leeches in this cocoon.

Men sometimes dig these cocoons out of the muddy pools: then put them in sheets of water. As soon as the leeches come out of the cocoons the men feed them until the animals are of the right size for the market.

But there is another method of taking leeches. The leech-fisher goes into the pool with naked legs. The leeches soon come to fix on his legs or feet as he moves along in the mud. As he feels the bite of these animals he takes them off one by one. He also gathers all that he can meet with among the roots of the bull-rushes or weeds, or under the moss.. In this manner he can sometimes get as many as ten dozen leeches in five or six hours. As he takes them he puts them into a bag.

Sometimes the fisher, as he wades about in the pool, lashes the surface of the water with a pole to make the leeches rise up; or he will take them with a net made of rushes.

In looking through this exercise, it is easy to perceive that the writer would have been glad of the words nest, bird, and, &c, with which he might have improved several of the sentences; but in these words two consonants follow each other in the same syllable, and are both sounded, therefore such words are reserved to a later period in the phonic arrangement. Several words in the above exercise might at first sight be supposed to have been admitted without regard to the rule -for example, the words chattering, sign, chicken, sickly, folk, and others, where two consonants follow each other in the same syllable. But in every case it will be found that these consonants express but one sound. The ch in chatter or chicken, forms only one sound, and has been so taught, in previous lessons: the same may be said of the ck in sickly; and the lk in folk. The only real exception is in the final s in chickens, leverets, &c., and this was long ago admitted in the case of the plural of nouns, and the present tense of verbs, and the use of it explained.

The great advantage of the exercises in these books is that they are so constructed as to dwell upon, and reiterate the words which the pupil has just been learning, and that they do not contain one sound with which he is unacquainted. He does not come to the task as a difficult one in which he has to spell out new words, but as truly an exercise of what he already knows. It is in this sense that we may understand the testimony lately received from a clergyman, who though preferring to begin with the alphabet according to the old plan, yet says, "Independently of the phonic peculiarities, these are the best and most progressive reading books I have ever met with, and as such, they are constantly in use in my family."

To give another instance of the skilful management of the exercises, we quote the following history of leeches, as being, perhaps, not without some information for older readers than those for whom it was designed. The absence of some useful words, especially of the conjunction and, is still observable; but perhaps the result is beneficial rather than otherwise by causing a greater repetition of such words as have been made the subject of recent lessons. With this specimen of the Second Phonic Reading Book we must close our notice of the system, wishing it all due success, and hoping, at some future day, when prejudices shall have gradually died away, to see the tasks of children made less irksome by its means. One word as to the type employed in the Books, Tablets, and Reading Frame, used in this method. It is remarkably beautiful and distinct, and the whole of it has, we understand, been cast expressly for this purpose.

THE LEECH.

If a person is ill the doctor sometimes orders leeches. I will tell you something about them.

The leech which the doctor orders is called the medicinal leech. It is common in Europe. It lives in lakes, pools, or bogs.

The body of the leech is composed of about ninety rings. The mouth is furnished with cutting teeth. The leech has also a sucker; with this sucker it can fix tightly to any thing.

This animal has no lungs, but its body is furnished with pores.

The leech is a parasite, living on other animals. It gets its food by sucking the bodies of fishes or other animals inhabiting the waters.

Sometimes the leech-fisher is seen with a harpoon depositing food for the leeches in order to get a number of them together. As soon as he sees them all feeding he gathers them into a vessel half full of water.

At the time of thunder leeches seem to be much agitated, rising to the surface of the water; this is therefore considered as a good time for looking after them.

The life of the leech-fisher is an unwholesome one. He is exposed to the noisome fogs that hang over the morass or bog; he is in the water for many hours together, sometimes up to his knees in the pool, or if the leeches are gone to deeper water he wades about with the water up to his chin. No wonder that the leech-fisher has a pale face, or that he is often ill in getting that which is to make others well.

Leeches are packed up for the market in boxes or tubs or barrels furnished with a canvas cover.

A WINTER'S MORNING.

BUT let us leave the warm and cheerful house,
To view the bleak and dreary scene without,
And mark the dawning of a winter-day.
The morning vapour rests upon the heights
Lurid and red, while growing gradual shades
Of pale and sickly light spread o'er the sky.
Then slowly from behind the southern hills
Enlarged and ruddy comes the rising Sun,
Shooting askance the hoary waste his beams,
That gild the brow of every ridgy bank,
And deepen every valley with a shade.
The crusted window of each scattered cot,
The icicles that fringe the thatched roof,
The new-swept slide upon the frozen pool,
All keenly glance, new kindled with his rays;
And even the rugged-faced face of scowling winter
Looks somewhat gay. But only for a time
He shows his glory to the brightening earth,
Then hides his face behind a sullen cloud.

The birds now quit their holes and lurking-sheds,
Most mute and melancholy, where through night,
All nestling close to keep each other warm,
In downy sleep they had forgot their hardships;
But not to chant and carol in the air,
Or lightly swing upon some waving bough,
And merrily return each other's notes.
No; silently they hop from bush to bush;
Can find no seeds to stop their craving want ;
Then bend their flight to the low, smoking cot,
Chirp on the roof, or at the window peck,
To tell their wants to those who lodge within.
The poor lank hare flies homeward to his den,
But little burden'd with his nightly meal
Of withered coleworts from the farmer's garden;
A wretched, scanty portion, snatched in fear:
And fearful creatures, forced abroad by hunger,
Are now to every enemy a prey.—BAILLIE.

JOHN W. PARKER, PUBLISHER, WEST STRAND, LONDON,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

This city is situated in a wild and rugged valley, where there is little to charm the eye, where the scenery is, in short, so little paradisaical, that it cannot by its beauty have suggested the notion just referred to. As the traveller descends into this valley, he obtains a view of Toledo, and discovers the city to be apparently a collection of rude, misshapen buildings, heaped together without plan, and without the least regard to picturesque effect. But a more attentive view, or a nearer approach, reveals the innumerable towers of convents, churches, and the splendid cathedral, with the irregular outline of grotesque and ancient edifices, behind which the dark range of the Toledo mountains forms a majestic back-ground, while the Tagus makes a sudden sweep around the city, converting it into a peninsula. The mountains are vast masses of granite, shooting up to a prodigious height, and forming huge walls to the long and narrow valley in which the city stands.

KNOW

THE CITY OF TOLEDO.

On arriving at Toledo, the traveller has perhaps undergone the fatigue of a fifteen hours' journey from Madrid, and is therefore little disposed to examine the wonders of the city, until sleep and refreshment have VOL. XXV.

[blocks in formation]
[graphic]

renewed his energy. In the year 1830 there was no regular road between these large and important cities the present and ancient capitals of Spain; and the conveyance made its way over a country where there was sometimes a visible track, sometimes none; and where the mules had frequently to toil through wide sands, or even ploughed fields or meadows. Mr. Inglis gives an amusing account of the manner of driving the diligence, in which he made the journey in the year above named.

"We had seven excellent mules, which carried us the whole way; and these were managed in the true Spanish mode, which does not admit of postilions. Two men sit in front; one always keeps his place, holding the reins, and guiding the two nearest mules; the other leaps from his seat every few minutes, runs alongside the mules, applies two or three lashes to each, gets them into a gallop, and as mule, and whisks into his place, where he remains until they pass by he lays hold of the tail of the hindermost the laziness of the mules or a piece of level ground again calls him into activity. The sagacity of the mules struck me as most extraordinary; after being put into a gallop, the three front mules were left entirely to themselves; and yet they unerringly discovered the best track; avoided the greatest inequalities, and made their turnings with the utmost precision."

On beginning to explore the ancient city of Toledo, the traveller is met in every direction with vestiges of former grandeur, and mementoes of empires long since passed away. The mind reverts to the empires of Car

794

ler's mind."

thage and Rome; the dominion of the Moors; and the | fling their images, like so many dark clouds, over the travelsway of the Spanish monarchy. "Past magnificence and present poverty" are everywhere written in legible characters. Toledo is built on a considerable rock which rises in the middle of the valley above noticed, therefore the traveller has no sooner entered its gates than he has to toil up steep and narrow streets, in which the houses are crowded together as if for mutual support, and where the absence of paved ways, and the disregard of cleanliness are additional evils. The streets of Toledo have been called the "purgatory" of horses, mules, and footpassengers; in short, of all who cannot afford to doze away life in a carriage. "People of fortune, who have three hundred yards to ride on a visit, perform the journey, a very serious business, with six horses."

One of the best views in Toledo is from the bridge over the Tagus. The Alcazar, 'an immense pile of buildings, once the residence of the Moors, forms one corner of the city, and is undoubtedly the most remarkable structure in Toledo. An irregular line of convents, towers, terraces, and hanging gardens may also be observed from this bridge, while, strewing the sides of the acclivity, are seen the remains of the Roman walls that once surrounded the city. The period in which the splendid Alcazar was founded, is unknown, but it was rebuilt by Alphonso X., and repaired by Charles I. At the commencement of the last century it narrowly escaped being reduced to ashes during the wars of the succession, by the barbarism of the Austrian and Portuguese troops. The greater part was indeed destroyed or damaged, and long remained in ruins, until Cardinal Lorenzano devoted a portion of his princely fortune to its reparation. Yet, in its present state there is only one wing that can be considered entire, and this is used as a prison. This structure presents a mixture of the magnificent and the grotesque. The finest portion is the façade, in which there are three rows of eight windows, each of which is surmounted by a gable-shaped attic, adorned at the apex by a head, different in each of the twenty-four examples. At either extremity of the façade a lofty mass of architecture projects in the form of a square pavilion. A fine gateway in the centre, adorned with Ionic columns, leads to a magnificent vestibule supported by massive double columns. This leads to a spacious court, surrounded by galleries, resting upon seventy-four columns of the composite and Corinthian order. This court, with the great staircase, are the only parts of the interior which give an idea of the ancient grandeur of the edifice.

The cathedral is the next, or perhaps we ought to have said, the principal object of interest in Toledo. It appears that a church existed on this site as early as the sixth century. It subsequently became a mosque; but when Toledo was restored to the Christians, it returned to its original destination. The effect of this magnificent pile is different on different observers. The notices of three or four writers, now before us, sufficiently prove this. One describes it as having no rival but the cathedral of Seville in its claims to be the greatest and most magnificent of Gothic temples. "All the cathedrals I had ever before seen," he adds, "shrunk into insignificance when I entered the cathedral of Toledo." Another speaks with astonishment of its magnificent architecture and incomparable treasures. But we find, a third (Mr. Roscoe) contrasting it with the cathedral of Burgos in an unfavourable manner. The cathedral of the old Castilian capital, he describes as being "rich and ornate within: towering, airy, graceful, and full of beauty without. Here on the contrary," he adds, "every ornament, small and great, breathes of antiquity indeed, but still more of ignorance of the art building; and the effect of the whole, clumsy masses, and elaborate, intricate, rude, unmeaning decorations, is anything but that of a work of art. Whatever pleasure it affords arises from the religio loci, not from any combination or harmony of parts, or perhaps from cumbrous and vast proportions, which

The dimensions of the cathedral are as follows. The interior is 404 feet long, and 206 feet wide. There are five naves: the height of the central portion is 160 feet. The columns that run along the aisles are 45 feet round. There are sixty-eight painted windows, and surrounding the choir and the altar there are 156 marble and porphyry pillars. All writers agree that the treasures of this cathedral are of surpassing richness, and in describing them, we can only follow the accounts of persons who visited Toledo a few years ago. Very lately, we believe, a large portion of the church property has been disposed of by government; but in the extremely unsettled state of things in Spain, it is difficult to say what is the precise aspect of affairs at Toledo at the present time. One of the most remarkable objects among the treasures is an ample robe of state for the image of the Virgin. It is of satin, but so richly embroidered with pearls, and studded with emeralds, amethysts, rubies, topazes and diamonds, that the material is entirely concealed. On certain grand occasions the image of the Virgin clad in this robe, and wearing a crown, is, or was placed on a great silver throne, and paraded through the streets, on men's shoulders, to receive the superstitious and misdirected homage of the multitude: a figure of the infant Jesus, in pure gold, adorned with 800 precious stones, is placed in her arms. The Virgin's crown is also of pure gold, but entirely covered with the largest and most brilliant jewels sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, and surmounted by an emerald of most extraordinary size and beauty. The mass of gold, silver, and jewels in this cathedral is perfectly dazzling, and beyond all description: a few only of the more striking wonders are noted by travellers. One of the most elegant is La Custodia, a silver model of the cathedral, weighing 22,000 ounces, and which took fifty-five ounces of pure gold for the gilding. It contains a multitude of pillars, and 200 little silver images of exquisite workmanship. It is designed for the exposition of the Sacrament, and is richly decked with jewels. In the centre of the cathedral is a shrine of gold, weighing fifty pounds, the chief value of which is estimated to be its elaborate workmanship. It is constructed in small pieces which, when screwed together, form a gothic tower, covered with the most beautiful fretwork.

The profusion of wealth enjoyed by this cathedral is traced to the pious donations of Spanish princes, at a time when the immense treasures obtained from their newly-discovered gold and silver mines in America, were at their disposal. It is scarcely possible to conceive what would have been the value, and the profitable return of this wealth, had it been judiciously employed for the good of the country, instead of being buried in the cathedral treasuries. Had it been employed in making canals and roads for the promotion of intercourse between the different parts of the kingdom,—had it been devoted to the improvement of the soil by planting, drainage, and irrigation, or had it been used to promote industry among the people by establishing and fostering useful manufactures,-how different a country might Spain have become! The jewels, &c., in the cathedral of Toledo are said to be worth more than ten millions sterling; and when we consider that this, though the richest, is only one out of many richly-gifted churches in Spain, it is evident that the wealth which was designed for important uses to man, has been here perverted from its proper channel, and chiefly employed to foster the deep superstition of the Spanish people.

the people, its reliquary is still more so. Sundry pieces If the treasury of Toledo is precious in the eyes of of the true cross and other relics, are vaunted by the priests. One of the most prized relics has the following story connected with it. San Ildefonso, when Arch

bishop of Toledo, wrote a book to prove that the Virgin was immaculate, or sinless, a doctrine which had been reasonably denied by some of his contemporaries. The Virgin, it is said, was so much pleased with this conduct of Ildefonso, that she sent Santa Casilda, the sainted patroness of Toledo, to signify her satisfaction. Accordingly when the archbishop was performing mass in the presence of the king and court, a female figure appeared (Santa Casilda, of course,) and paid the dignitary a high compliment, in Latin. Ildefonso, far from being terrified by this apparition, called to the king for the knife that he wore at his girdle, and cut off a piece of the saint's veil, lest sceptics should set down his story as an invention. This fragment of the veil, and the king's knife, have ever since been preserved among the most sacred relics.

"

The treasures and the relics of this cathedral give it almost the air of a grand museum, but they do not form its chief attractions, if we may trust the majority of visitors. "Its immensity, its grandeur," says Inglis, are its glories. The lofty and majestic aisles, the massive and far-stretching columns of a temple like this, seem almost to shadow forth the imperishable nature of the religion whose sanctuary they adorn and uphold. The longer we contemplate the vastness and majesty around, the mind is more and more filled with awe, and lifted from the insignificance of life to a sense of the greatness and solemn grandeur of eternity; we are filled with enthusiasm and admiration,-enthusiasm the more lofty, because it is mingled with religion; and admiration the more profound, since it is mixed with astonishment, that so frail a creature as man should be able to perpetuate his memory for ever. While I remained in Toledo I spent a part of every day in the cathedral; and every evening about sunset I strolled through the aisles. These visits will not soon be forgotten, for it is but rarely that life gathers such subjects of remembrance."

About three miles from Toledo is the Royal Manufactory of Arms, re-established by Charles III. at the close of the last century. The sword-blades of Toledo were, during many generations, the most celebrated in Europe, and were considered "the indispensable weapon of every well-appointed cavalier." Celebrated not only in the time of the Moors, but even under the Romans, the temper of these weapons is chiefly attributed to the waters of the Tagus, in which they are cooled. A visitor of the manufactory, in 1831, was informed by one of the workmen that during the French invasion, the manufactory was removed to Seville: but the swords manufactured on the banks of the Guadalquiver were found to be very inferior to those which the same workmen had made in Toledo. The present manufactory is close to the river, and is a building of great extent, composing within it forges, workshops, depositories of arms, and in addition, every kind of accommodation for those employed in the manufactory. The establishment was much on the decline at the period alluded to, but the blades produced were said to be equal to the most celebrated Toledanos of antiquity.

The general aspect of the population of Toledo is described as being "intensely Spanish." The small high-crowned Spanish hat is universal, and among the women, no colours are to be seen. Black is the universal dress, and scarcely any one enters the church unveiled. The friars form a large proportion of the street population, and are indeed spies on the lives of the inhabitants. The secret influence of the archbishop keeps the people in awe, and prevents the progress of information, both by reading and conversation.

The religious bodies are held in the highest vene. ration, and proofs of blind and bigoted zeal are everywhere visible among the inhabitants. "Every shop is provided with a saint in a niche to bless its gains; and upon every second or third door a paper is seen with these words printed upon it, Maria Santa Purissima, sin Pecado concebida,' 'Holy Mary, most pure, conceived without sin.""

WELSH FUNERAL CUSTOMS. A CUSTOM once prevailed over the whole of Wales, (but is now confined to its northern districts only,) that each individual attending a funeral should make some offering in money on the occasion. This custom has doubtless been retained from the Romish religion, where the money was intended as a recompence to the priests for their trouble in singing mass for the soul of the deceased. In some cases, the offerings are made on the coffin at the door of the house where the deceased resided, and are distributed amongst the poor relatives. When, however, the offerings are made in the church (and the other mode rarely occurs), the whole of the morning or evening prayers for the day, and the usual part of the burial service in the church are first read: the altar table, and, if it is a poor person, puts down sixthe next of kin to the deceased then comes forward to pence or a shilling, but if he be sufficiently opulent, half-acrown or a crown, and sometimes even so much as a guinea. This example is followed by the other relatives, and afterwards by the rest of the congregation whose situation in life will afford it, who advance in turns, and offer. When the offering of silver is ended, a short pause ensues, after which those who cannot spare any larger sum, come forward, and put down each a penny (a halfpenny not being admitted). Collections on these occasions have been known to amount to ten or fifteen pounds, but where the relatives are indigent, they do not often exceed three or four shillings. In cases where families are left in distress, this money is usually given by the clergyman to them. When the collection is entirely finished, the body is taken to the grave, the remainder of the burial service is read, and the awful ceremony is there closed.

·

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It is usual in several parts of North Wales, for the nearest female relation of the deceased, be she widow, mother, sister, or daughter, to pay some poor person, of the same sex, and nearly of the same age with the deceased, for procuring slips of yew, box, and other evergreens, to strew interment; and, in some instances, for weeding and adornover and ornament the grave for some weeks after the ing it on the eves of Easter, Whitsuntide, and the other great festivals, for a year or two afterwards. This gift is called Dioddys, and it is made on a plate at the door of the house, where, at the same time, the body is standing on a bier. It had its name from the custom, which is now discontinued, of the female relative giving to the person a piece of cheese, with the money stuck in it, or some white bread, and afterwards a cup of ale. When this previous cere clerk, repeats the Lord's Prayer; after which, they proceed mony is over, the clergyman, or, in his absence, the parish with the body to the church. Four of the next of kin take the bier upon their shoulders; a custom which is considered as expressive of the highest mark of respect that even filial piety can pay to the deceased. If the distance from the house to the church be considerable, they are relieved by some of the congregation; but they always take it again before they arrive at the church.

In some parts of Wales, it was formerly customary for the friends of the dead to kneel on the grave, and there to say the Lord's Prayer, for several Sundays subsequent to the interment, and then to dress the grave with flowers. It was also reckoned fortunate for the deceased, if a shower of rain came on while they were carrying the body to church, so that his body might be moistened with the tears of heaven.-History of North Wales.

LULLED in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain.
Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise!
Each stamps its image as the other flies.
Each, as the various avenues of sense,
Delight or sorrow to the mind dispense,
Brightens or fades, yet all, with magic art,
Control the latent fibres of the heart.
As studious Prospero's mysterious spell,
Drew every subject-spirit to his cell;
Each, at thy call, advances or retires,
As judgment dictates, or the scene inspires:
Each thrills the seat of sense, that sacred source
Whence the fine nerves direct their mazy course,
And through the frame invisibly convey,
The subtle, quick vibrations as they play;
Man's little universe at once o'ercast,

At once illumined when the cloud is past.-ROGERS.

L

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

III.

DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE. In order to convey such information as we possess with respect to the domestic and social life of the Japanese, we propose to sketch the life of a native gentleman, so far as we are enabled to do so, from the cradle to the tomb. As soon as an infant is born, it is bathed, and kept free from all swathing and clothing that could impede the growth and development of body or limb. Upon one occasion only is this state of freedom interrupted, namely, when the infant is carried in state to be named in the family temple. Three names are inscribed on a slip of paper, which the priestess submits to the god; then announcing which of the three is selected, she confers it on the child, whom she sprinkles with water. This ceremony takes place on the thirty-first day of a boy's age, and on the thirtieth of a girl's.

In the unconfined state above described, the child continues for three years, at the expiration of which the clothes are bound at the waist with a girdle. Religious rites accompany this first girding, and the child is now taught to pray. At seven years old the boy receives the mantle of ceremony, and, what could hardly have been surmised from the great importance apparently attached to the choice of the name given to the baby-a new name. It may be stated that every change in Japanese life is consecrated by appropriate religious ceremonies. After investment with this mantle of ceremony, a boy is permitted to perform his devotions regularly in the temple.

[ocr errors]

Children are trained in habits of implicit obedience. Both sexes and all ranks commence their education in the inferior or primary schools, where they learn to read and write, and acquire some knowledge of the history of their own country. For the lower classes this is deemed sufficient education; of which, it is positively asserted, that not a day labourer in Japan is destitute. The children of the higher orders proceed from these schools to others of a superior description, where they

are carefully instructed in morals and manners, including the whole science of good breeding, the minutest laws of etiquette, and a thorough knowledge of the almanac, since it is considered as disgraceful as disastrous, to marry, to begin a journey, or to take any other important step, upon an unlucky day. Girls receive lessons in needlework, in the service and management of a house, and in whatever may be thought useful to them as mothers or heads of families. During this period of their lives, Japanese children are very ill dressed, to prevent their being admired by strangers, from a similar superstition to that which prevails in Egypt.

At fifteen, education is deemed complete. The boy now takes his place in society; his head is shaved in Japanese fashion, and again he receives a new name. But even this third name is not destined to be permanent. Upon every advance in official rank-and half the Japanese above the working classes appear to hold office the placeman takes a new name,

Marriage is contracted early; but as a mésalliance is held to be utterly disgraceful, persons even in the middle classes of society are not unfrequently reduced to the necessity of espousing those whom they have never seen.

When a youth has had the opportunity of fixing his affections upon a maiden of suitable condition, he declares his passion by affixing a branch of a certain shrub (the Celastrus alatus) to the house of the damsel's parents. If the branch be neglected, the suit is rejected; if it be accepted, so is the lover; and when the young lady wishes to express reciprocal tenderness, she forthwith blackens her teeth; but she must not pluck out her eye-brows until the wedding shall have been actually celebrated.

When the terms of the marriage contract are arranged by the friends of the parties, the bridegroom sends presents, as costly as his means will allow, to the bride, which she immediately offers to her parents, in acknow

« AnteriorContinuar »