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THE VINTAGE FEAST.

The Vendemmia may be said to resemble the English harvest-home, though it is far more picturesque, having all the advantages of a sunny sky, splendid scenery, and costumes bright as blossoms flaunting in the eye of day," and fitting like dresses in a picture.

The sun has hardly streaked the "east with purple light" on the morning of the festival, before the strains of vocal and instrumental music are heard approaching Camacha, a village situated on the Serra, or rather St. Antonio da Serra, from every direction from the interior of the island, from the well known northern routes, and from the sea, which is dotted with gaily painted boats coming in from the numerous little villages lying along the coast, between Funchal and Canical on the east, and Funchal and Magdalena on the west.

Groups of peasants follow each musician, and for hours the roads leading to the Serra are bright with the picturesque multitude. The dress of the men on these occasions generally consists of white linen "quakes," very much like our modern knickerbockers; buff goat-skin boots, white linen shirts, blue vests ornamented with several small solid gold buttons, and blue carapuças with long gold tassels. The blue cloth with which these latter articles are made is imported from Portugal, generally from the well-known firm of Correa and Company, or it may be from the rival house of Lafourie and Company. The women are, as usual, dressed in bright colours, some wearing native manufactures, but the greater number clad in the gaily striped cotton sent to the Funchal market by the Lisbon Weaving Company; while their lenços are of fancy shot silk from the factories of Joze Barboza, or have come from the celebrated cotton looms of La Luz. Their jewellery has only the fault of being too heavy; their chains are like ropes, their bracelets like golden cables.

Arrived at the Serra the first object of attraction is the Church of St. Antonio. It is a small building, somewhat resembling in its outer structure an English village church,

with a low square tower. The walls are of a brilliant white, bordered with black. On the present occasion a tall flag-staff runs up from the tower, and sustains an enormous crimson banner, on which the arms of Portugal are embroidered in silk, the huge crown only being worked in gold.

Surrounding the church is a square, answering the purposes of the adro of the Mount church, which is crowded with people who cannot obtain an entrance into the edifice, where a high mass is being performed. The Vendemmia, like every other festa celebrated in Madeira, beginning with a religious service.

While the multitude are thus engaged let us look at the scene around

us.

On

The Serra is dotted with barracas and tables heaped with provisions, besides each of which stands a little barrel of wine; while from the branches of the oak trees hang quarters of the best beef the island can afford. the right, in a hollow, we see what looks like a roofless hut, but from the red light glaring up from between its walls, we know that there they are roasting whole the fat ox on which the vine-dressers are to feast in the afternoon. On the left, at a short distance from the church, is the cemetery, surrounded by a low wall. In the centre stands a wooden cross, and thick and close around it lie the mounds of bare red earth, beneath which the dead await the call of the last trumpet. Between this and the church there is a long, low building, having a pretty open verandah running along the front. This is known as the Pilgrim's house," and is abundantly provided with culinary utensils, and mattresses stuffed with the soft silky hair which grows round the roots of the beautiful rare ferndicksonia culcita. As lodgings are given gratis to all who bring their own provisions, this place is generally over crowded during the Vendemmia, but chiefly with elderly people, the young preferring to sleep in the tents, or under the trees in the circa or grove, at the opposite extremity of the Serra.

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Bright-hued flowers are jewelling the earth under the soft shade of trees, whose tall trunks, from the roots to the topmost branches, are adorned either by the graceful fronds of the Capillus Veneris and Davalia Canariensis, or that curious lichen familiarly known as "old man's hair," hanging in gray tresses of half a foot in length, and waving loosely about with the faintest breeze.

There are many pleasant walks in the circa, but there is one which has a peculiar though melancholy interest for English visitors-it is known as the "hydrangia walk." Between rows of this beautiful shrub, whose branches are drooping beneath the wealth of innumerable large blue flowers, you pass on till about half way through, when a slight rising in the centre of the path attracts your attention. You inquire why it has not been levelled, and are told that it is a grave. He who sleeps beneath had renounced the religion which the State declares no man must forsake, nor even be suspected of leaving, lest his grave be made in the streets or highways, where his friends and neighbours cannot choose but trample on his dust. About a mile from the Serra, where three ways meet, there is another such grave, and there are many others scattered through the island.

While we are still admiring the singular spectacle presented by the Serra, the bell of the church rings out a merry peal-the service is over, and the multitude is swarming over the plain. It is a novel and picturesque sight, though some of its details are mean and unpleasant. The first rush is to the refreshment tables, and there, in drinking a sort of wine made from pears, oranges, lemons, and grapes, even the honest hearts of the Madeiran

peasants catch an unnatural spark, and shouts, whistling, and fantastic attitudes, such as one sees in the highlands of Scotland and the west of Ireland, accompany the dances, which commence all over the Serra at one o'clock.

In feasting and amusement the day is passed, and also a greater part of the night, when just as the brief, dim half-hour of dawn comes round, the bells clang out a summons to the young maidens to commence the preparation of the morning meal-a last feast, for the time, of beef and wine and fine bread.

As soon as this is ended the whole multitude join in a dance, called the cachuca, though differing altogether from the Spanish dance of the same name. When this is over every woman takes her partner's hat and wreaths it with the beautiful blue flowers of the hydrangia, while the men on receiving them back make the mountains re-echo with their hearty shouts. Presently the Serra assumes a new aspect. Borequerous, who had been all the morning watching for the proper moment, now appear galloping into the Serra from all directions. Madeirans of every rank are graceful and fearless as Arabs on horseback, the borequerous, therefore, soon find customers, but the Lisbon ponies are in the greatest demand; they are well known to be strong, swift, and active, and though the riders will not be permitted to try their speed through the streets of Funchal, there will be many a well-contested race on the new road before the sun sets.

In a gleesome picturesque procession the multitude enter Funchal, and pass through all the principal streets, loudly cheered at every step, as the harbingers of a promise of a golden future.

A CHARING-CROSS CIGAR.

HERE, in the square of Trafalgar,
This gusty day of February,
I smoke a publisher's cigar,

And watch the misty shadows vary,
And see the innumerous pigeons start
As ring St. Martin's bells for bridal,
Some trooping to the roofs of art,
Some soaring toward our naval idol.

Now from the classic portico,

That noble work of good Sir Christopher, Trips the sweet bride, her cheeks aglowFond fingers touch the ivory wrist of her. The foolish fountains sparkle free

For her, no more a sullen spinster, And sudden sunlight cleaves the sea Of mist above the western minster.

But lo, the magic of the weed!

'Tis summer tide and forest lonely, And I am far away indeed,

Sauntering with one sweet creature only, Just at the hour when thrush and merle

Their mellowest throbs of music utter, And the young bosom of a girl

Is fain with love's dim dreams to flutter.

Daintily over delicate moss

Pass her light feet; the woods we enter,

And now the sparkling rivulet cross

Which bubbles through the forest centre.

Amid green growth of giant fern

Love's laughing nymphs in sylvan nooks hide,

And mock my longings as I yearn

To clasp her by the haunted brookside.

And lightly as her footsteps fall,

So lightly too her sweet lips chatter

Of picnics, archery, county balls,
And many another girlish matter.

Yet surely, as the saffron west

Sheds glory on the woodland cloister,

Flutters that white-veiled virgin breast

Those dim brown eyes with love grow moister.

Ay, let me clasp thee, lady mine!

And taste thy red mouth's honey-sweetness,

And feel that timorous heart of thine

Pant with love's passionate completeness,

Out goes my weed: the streets are wet:
Returns the palace of the Percy,

For which "King" Thwaites and Bazalgette
And Vullisemy have got no mercy.

MORTIMER COLLINS.

THE FENIAN CONSPIRACY IN AMERICA AND IN IRELAND.

THE time appears to have come when the story of the Fenian Conspiracy may be written. The Irish Executive are still actively contending with the widespread ramifications of the plot, but the crisis is unquestionably over; and for various reasons it is desirable that a calm and complete estimate should be formed of the nature and extent of the danger from which the country has escaped. It is due to those who have exerted themselves energetically and effectively under discouragements, to repress Fenianisin, that the public should know the difficulties they have successfully overcome. For the truth of political history it is requisite that facts should be fully stated, and such accurate information placed on record as considerations of the highest prudence rendered it necessary to withhold heretofore. Not only shall credit be given to those to whom it is due, but the difficulty of dealing with a secret rebellious organization at any future time, whether as a new organization or as a remnant of Fenianism, will be less, if we sound the depths of the Irish-American en terprise, and discover all its conceptions and methods. Nor can we avoid adding that this close examination of the matter has become more necessary in consequence of the necessarily inadequate and misleading impression created by the Press of the character, design, and reach of the project-the Fenian Society being one day ridiculed as the acme of Irish absurdity, and the next spoken of, even by the same writers, as a scheme unparalleled for wickedness, subtilty, and strong purpose. The public, dependent on the usual sources of information, have been puzzled whether to treat it as a pantomime, or an undertaking in plan formidable, and beyond all precedent successful, both in America and Ireland, in the one country in obtaining very large sums of money, and in the other in so expending its resources as not only to ensnare large numbers of the respectable artisan class in towns, but to some degree to corrupt the military. It was not, perhaps, surprising that Irish critics should be found sceptical as to the substantial

reality of any treason-organization in their country. There has been so much agitation verging on sedition in Ireland at all times, occasionally amounting to open menace of arms, that superficially regarded Fenianism might seem but a new phase of the old delusion--a more bombastic form of the familiar denunciations of “England"-Young Irelandism doubly ridiculous, as wanting the talent which gave the green youth of 1848 power over their countrymen- a mere vulgar imitation of the glories of that era of eloquence and patriotic song. Those, however, who knew most of the episode of 1848, and took pains to compare it, first with the Phoenixism of 1859, and next with the Fenianism of 1865, did not feel disposed to dismiss the last form of revolutionary conspiracy with a careless sneer. They discovered features in the American Celtic movement of a more serious description than any of the characteristics of the treasonspurt of Mr. Smith O'Brien. They saw that it had vastly greater resources in money; that the basis of the speculation, the possibility-probability some would have said a year ago-of a war between England and America, was anything but a wild one; that the persons at the head of the movement were experienced popular organizers; and above all, that it differed from former efforts in despising the arts of the demagogue, and inculcating in place of them sterner virtues of self-denial, long preparation, and secret and patient action. It was a businesslike rebellion and invasion which Mr. James Stephens had laboured to bring about. No part of his intention was a "rising" merely to frighten the Government out of this or that political or religious concession. He intended a Revolution and nothing less, and under his instructions the St. Patrick Brotherhood cast all ordinary complaints of "grievances" to the winds, and turned up their sleeves to grind pike-lances, to run bullets, to prepare cartridges, and fit arms. We shall show in the sequel how complete and comprehensive was the plan through which this design

was prosecuted; how rapidly the members of the society became experts in the craft of armourers; and what fascination the very secrecy and high danger of the service had for thousands. It is enough to close these introductory remarks by stating, plainly and simply, what we mean to establish by facts that cannot be contested, and some of the most important of them not before known to the public -that Fenianism was the invention of men of uncommon powers, and that when the first blow was struck against it by the seizure of the Irish People newspaper in September last, it had obtained an extended hold upon the country, having its emissaries in every principal town; its so-called Centre in many counties; its depots of arms at convenient places; its regular meetings for the drilling of numbers; its well-paid and effective propaganda; its representatives among the non-commissioned officers of the army; its plans laid for seizing several of the largest barracks; its numerous sworn-in men; and its neverempty exchequer. Such an organization had in it nothing to cause alarm for the integrity of the Empire, but might have done an enormous amount of evil, might have led to the shedding of much blood, had it not been grappled with at the right moment when it had assumed its full shape, when its leaders had completely committed themselves, but before their . preparations had been brought to a point where it might possibly seem to them that success awaited them in the field.

Before adducing authentic proofs that Fenianism was a conspiracy of great magnitude and boldness of conception, though not without its points of weakness and stupendous folly, we may refer to the course of Irish Celtic agitation subsequent to 1848. For some seven years after that date what was designated Nationalism did not prosper. The old Nation had been revived, but it was no longer "racy of the soil." The former poetry had ceased to stir the hearts of the people: they were anxious only to be let alone, to live on quietly as they might. Good reason had they, in all conscience, to believe that agitation could bring them no good. Many had spent half the period of their active lives in Repeal-warden caper

ings, and roared their voices away in cheers at monster-meetings, and they had made nothing of it all. A more practical spirit began to prevail, and sensible men hailed it with gladness, though some of perverted minds mourned over it. Ireland, exclaimed one of the malcontents, is a corpse on the dissecting-table. But whatever she was, she improved in her trade, and her farmers learned to put by money. The expatriated Celts of 1848, however, had by this time become an element of some consideration in the populations of New York and Melbourne, and never relinquished the idea of returning to "free their native land." With many of their leaders talk of the sort was mere selfish hypocrisy, but those speeches served to keep the old flame burning; and when soon after a check was given to the prosperity of Ireland by several bad seasons, and consequent appeals were made to the Irish abroad for contributions to succour their distressed countrymen at home, the rainy skies and the distemper among cattle being attributed to "English misgovernment," there was easily raised-in California especially--what was called a Cry for Fatherland. It was under the stimulus of that agitation that the bones of Terence Bellew M'Manus were brought to Ireland; and the Government of the day were, all men now see, as some then saw, highly blamable in having allowed a procession through the streets of Dublin, accompanying his remains to the place of re-interment, which was as rebellious an exploit as was ever ventured upon in any country. It was remarkable that the leaders of that procession were a changed sort of Irishmen, persons with the appearance of the desperado, of long, hard, sallow face, peculiar beard, and an air of insult and contempt for others. It was, in fact, an American treason-march through the Irish capital, by the very same class of individuals who subsequently became the prime movers in the Fenian conspiracy.

The Irish-American strangers laid the foundations of Fenianism in Ireland on the day when they buried M'Manus, though the peculiar form of old Irish sedition and New World Republicanism mingled which received that name more lately did

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