網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

on it."

guanized,) although healthy and vigorous, re- and retaining the fine vapor contained in the quired double the time to arrive at the same air. Hence the fact is to be explained why dew state of progress. It deserves to be stated as was more apparent on the guanized turf than something remarkable, that on the guanized on that not subjected to that process. As we spot, the dew appeared in the morning much know that, in general, during the long drought, stronger on the tops of the leaves, than on the the action of dung-in fact of every manurepart unguanized. "In an experiment made by ceases; and as it is light sandy soil which first M. Staudinger on a barren hill, composed of suffers from drought, it must be evident what granite or quartz, the guanized spot exhibited valuable manure guano is, not only on pastures, a dark bluish green sward, while round about but for winter rye, our chief crop on light land. nothing but barrenness was to be seen. I1, If an acre of land is dressed with 125 lbs. of therefore, a land owner wishes to cover bleak guano, an abundant crop of grain and straw hungry pasture in a short time with nutritious will fully repay the expenses incurred. If such grass for cattle or sheep, the guano certainly is a rye-field is laid down in spring with meadow the thing to do it. It would not only produce a catstail grass (Phleum pratense) and white plentiful fodder in the autumn, where cattle can clover, a heavy grass crop in the autumn would be well nourished and prepared for the winter, still increase the advantages already mentioned. but such guanized pasture will bring a heavy As rape can by no means be too luxuriant, crop early in the spring. Guano has also been guano would produce an extraordinary result used advantageously on a sour meadow, overgrown with horsetails; and it produced, instead If a soil consists only of sand and clay, and of' reeds and bulrushes, a dense turf of sweet be deficient of organic matter, or the decaying grass, and the horsetail almost disappeared. remnants of animal or vegetable life, it is sufThus, in the first place, more grass is obtained, ficient, and chemically correct, to add to it which may be put down as double the former guano, in order to insure a plentiful crop. crops; and then the grass is very much im- Guano consists of ammonia in separate comproved in quality. Of course good drainage bination with uric, phosphoric, oxalic, and carmust be attended to on each meadow, if the re- bonic acids, together with a few earthy salts sult is expected to be complete. In nsing guano and some impurities. If guano be the fertilizer we must be careful to pulverize it well; because, employed, it is valuable, chiefly from the ammoon account of its tenacity, it will form into lumps, nia it contains; and ammonia is valuable beand on places where it lies too thick, it will cause one of its elements is nitrogen, which is burn the grass, although subsequently, even on yielded to the plants. such places a luxuriant herbage will spring up. Experiments with guano on spring crops have Mr. Smith goes on to exhort the farmer been as successful at Flottbeck, with both wheat to preserve and economize all the suband rye, as on the above meadow. The wheat manured in the spring with guano is much

stances containing nitrogen, and he tells superior to that manured in the ordinary way,

how to prevent the waste of this important both in grain and straw. The following expe

constituent of manures. riment was tried on a spot of almost blowing These random gleanings will enable the sand: "On the 18th March, several square rods reader to judge of the nature and merits of in the above locality, planted with winter rye, the work—this true “Farmer's Friend.” If were strewed with guano. The spot thus the book were not brief, and so low-priced manured was in a short time not only conspicuons for its dark green color, but the tiller be- as to be accessible to even the humblest came so luxuriant as to cover the whole surface. individual engaged in agricultural studies Notwithstanding a drought of two months, the or operations, we should deem it a duty to guanized crops remained in the same flourishing refer to it at greater length. As it is, we condition ; whilst the other rye standing close earnestly recommend it. by had a weak and sickly appearance. Subsequently the former attained the height of five or six feet, with ears five inches long, with strong plump grain; whilst the latter were scarcely hall that height in straw, and their ears were barren and empty' This experiment speaks in favor of guano in preference to other

THE COMET AT BURMAU. - March 15. The manure in another respect. If a light sandy comet has caused much sensation here.

The soil like the above is manured too much with Mughs consider it to be the harbinger of Divine common dung, and if there follows a luxuriant vengeance; and they declare that the war with the vegetation, with dark green foliage, we may be Burmese, or a rebellion in the country, is soon to sure that, if there be subsequently any long happen. This comet, they say, is one which they drought, or sudden change of temperature from never before have seen the tail being longer than great heat to intense cold, rust will follow as a

that of any others which have preceded it, as far

as the oldest inhabitants can recollect. The science matter of course; whilst, in the above experi- of astrology is held in high repute by the Arracament, notwithstanding a nine-weeks' drought,

The astrologers have divided the comets and some intervening nights' frost, the growth into certain orders, each presaging a different caof the guanized rye was uniformly good up to lamity; but the poor fellows are scratching their the ripening of grain-a sufficient proof that the heads to find out to which of the classes this one guano must possess the property of attracting | belongs.- Indian Journal.

nese.

Let us

HABITS AND SUPERSTITIONS OF THE esses, but now abandoned to the funereal BRETONS.

surge of the dismal waters, where, accord.

ing to the respectable testimony of the From the Foreign Quarterly Review.

fishermen, thousands upon thousands of un1. Essai sur l'Histoire, la Langue et les In- happy ghosts may be beard at midnight

stitutions de la Bretagne Armoricaine. shrieking for Christian burial. (Essay on the History, Language, and

commence our pilgimage at Institutions of Armorican Briitany.) Par once with this cluster of tumble down Aurélien de Courson. Nantes. 1841.

houses, half stone, half wood and mud, 2. Notes d'un Voyage dans l'Ouest de la jammed up among hillocks of clay, or

France. (A Voyage in the West of chard trees, and the debris of Roman walls France.) Par Prosper Merimée, inspec- and Gotbic towers. A street runs, or teur-Général des Monumens Historiques meanders, through the midst ; unpaved, de France. Paris. 1836.

irregular and surfy; invaded here and 3. Essai sur les Antiquités du Département there by a scrap of a courtyard shouldering

du Morbihan. (Essay on the Antiquities the causeway; and indented at intervals of the Department of Morbihan.) Par J. with clumps of stunted firs, and broken Mahé, Chanoine de la Cathédrale de flags, set cornerwise to bind the fluctuating Vannes, et Membre Correspondant de path, through which, in the summer time, la Société Académique d'Agriculture, tall, melancholy grass mopes upward into Belles-Lettres, Sciences et Arts de the humid air. This is the public way, or Poitiers. Vannes. 1825.

high-road; but, with the exception of the 4. Les Derniers Bretons. (The Last Bre-narrow strip in the centre, with the sky

tons.) Par Emile Souvestre. 4 tom. overhead, it is wholly absorbed by the peo. Paris. 1836.

ple on each side. All the houses have 5. Antiquités de la Bretagne. (Antiquities workshop sheds or crazy porches project

of Brittany.) Par M. le Chevalier de ing far into the street; and here, in the Fremenville, ancien Capitaine des Fré-open air, the greater part of the life of the gates du Roi, &c. &c., Membre de la inhabitants is spent. Here the poor beat Société Royale des Antiquaires de the corn of their little fields; here they France. Brest. 1837.

wash, prepare their simple cookery, and

spread out their linen to dry. A busy, We take it for granted, O Genial Reader, chattering, squalling place it is. As you that you have basked in the sunshine of pass through you see children seated at the Froissart; that you are familiar with the open thresholds eating black bread, and deeds of such men as De Foix and Du lucky are they, if you can detect a streak Guesclin ; and that you could re-word up- of honey on their fingers or lips. In front on occasion many Saintly legends of the of the doors are knots of women spinning, Cross, garnered up reverently in your old and accompanying their monotonous labor reading. We even assume that you have with songs or gossip in high treble voices. a proper respect for the Genii and the The old men are all stretched out at full Fairies, and for all the other articles of length basking in the sun; and, as evening faith out of which the Imagination of the approaches, the workshop, benches are world, from time immemorial, has formed given up to the young girls who crowd its own poetical creed. Confiding then in round them in eager, picturesque groups, your lore, but above all in your sympathies, while one of the travelling mendicants, ibé we invite you to make an excursion with trouveurs of the country, recites a favorite us into a country where this Antique Be- ballad, or trolls out some plaintive airs. lief still colors the practical business of The work of the day is over; the bustle life, moulding, as it did of old, the hearts and mirthful clamor increases; and as the and habits of the people ; a country strewn twilight begins to set in, the young people over with monuments of the past, and gather into the Place, and, full of riotous haunted with historical memories and fan- animal spirits, are speedily lost in the tastic traditions to the last stone of its rocky whirls of their mountain ronde : the gayest solitudes. Put on your mountain shoes, and and noisiest of all national dances. The grasp your staff firmly, for we have rugged strange “auld-warld” style of the dresses, hill sides to clamber, and shall leave the car- the dark back-ground of mixed and crumbriage roads far behind us; striking into the ling architecture, and the freedom and siminterior amidst the smoke of the dun chau- plicity by which the whole scene is so mi res, and sweeping round by the seashore strongly marked, might almost tempt the once pressed by the feet of Druid priest- spectator to imagine that he was standing in a city of the middle ages. Nor would | religious pomp, he must penetrate disthe speculation be very wide of the reality ; tricts remote from the highways, traverse for this is an old Breton town, where the roads impracticable for locomotives, cross habits and manners, costume and pecu- marshes, plains, and mountains, and bury liarities of the middle ages, are to this hour himself in scenes that have not yet been carefully preserved.

swept into the circle of Parisian centraliWe have no intention at present of tres- zation. Here, and here only, he will find passing upon the domain of history, or of the traditions of the country still subsistdiscussing any of the moot questions in. ing in the faith and usages of the people. volved in the language or complex antiqui- The first thing that strikes the traveller, ties of the ancient Armorica ; but, confin. after his eye has become a little accustoming ourselves strictly to the living characed to the physiognomy of the country, is teristics of the people, we propose to touch the vast number of ruins that are scattered upon some points of greater novelty, and over the surface. There is no part of the of a more popular and interesting nature. world, where, within the same compass, The history of Brittany, and the philologi- such extensive and magnificent reliques of cal researches into her dialects, the battle Druidism are to be found. The stones of ground of so many Gaelic, Welsh, and Carnac, stretching in eleven parallel lines Irish antiquaries, have already largely oc- for a distance of upwards of seven miles, cupied the attention of the learned; but have long excited the wonder and admiwe are not aware that the in-door life and ration of Europe ; and there is not a single superstitions of the Breton peasantry have, form of Druidical remains, of which there as yet, received the consideration they are not innumerable specimens in various deserve. To these aspects of the subject, states of preservation. Barrows, galgals, not less attractive from their simplicity combeaux, and sacrés, to use the French than their freshness, it is our intention to phrases, Dolmens, Menhirs, Roches-auxrestrict our observations.

Fées, Cromlechs, Lichavens, appear to The traveller who keeps to the beaten have been showered upon the soil with a track, can scarcely hope to learn any thing profusion for which history assigns neither about Brittany. 'He must diverge from origin nor use. But while the curiosity of the main routes, if he would see the peo- the stranger is intent upon the examination ple in their primitive and national habits. of these stupendous and inexplicable struc. The high roads are now pretty well maca- tures, he is still more amazed by the disdamized; the principal towns are tolerably covery that these Celtic temples, or altars, well supplied with hotels; the cuisine is or graves, or whatever else they may have certainly not quite equal to Verrey's, but been, are generally either mixed up with you can dine satisfactorily nevertheless; fragments of the feudal ages, or close in the and you can get newspapers and books, neighborhood of early Christian monuand other agrémens much as you get them ments. This strange association throws elsewhere. The tourist, therefore, may open a large and perplexing field of inquiry. post easily enough from Brest to Rennes, Christianity seems to have pursued her or sail up the Rance from St. Malo to triuinphs, with bold and rapid steps, into Dinan, and make a detour to Nantes on the very recesses and last strongholds of his way to Paris, traversing no inconsider that gigantic idolatry which once exercised able portion of Brittany : but he will not so marvellous an influence over the human be a whit the wiser concerning the Bre- mind; and in some instances to have tons. The leisurely Englishman who risks wrestled with its sorceries on the very spot the springs of his carriage on any of these where they were enacted. Many of the lines, dropping at an hotel, looking about Druidical localities are connected by exhim, and then going home again, will have ulting tradition with the victories of the nothing to report about the country be- Cross; and in not a few cases they are yond that monotonous buckwheat which, blended together and rendered identical. even in its most cultivated sections, dis. Thus there is an old legend, still repeated tinguishes it from all the rest of France. and currently received amongst the pea. If he would really see the Brittany of a santry, that the stones of Carnac owe their former age in its yet undisturbed integrity, origin to a heathen army which chased St. a people sombre and heavy, with boorish Cornelius into the valley, because he had manners and antique costumes, steeped in renounced paganism; when, being close their old superstitions, speaking their old pressed and surrounded on all sides, he language, and living in the midst of Celtic had recourse to prayer, whereupon the monuments and the reliques of feudal and whole host were petrified in their lines as

they stood. And near the city of Lannion, church. In vain they destroyed the edifices there is an enormous Menhir, between of public worship: “I will pull down your twenty and thirty feet in height, crowned belfries," exclaimed the famous Jean-Bonwith a stone cross, and exhibiting upon Saint-André to the maire of a village, “ in the front the passion of Christ carved order that you may have no more objects amongst the usual gross images of the to recall to you the superstitions of past Celtic worship. This intermixture of sym- times.” “You must leave us the stars, bols is carried out still farther in some of and we can see them farther off,” was the the popular superstitions, to which we shall memorable reply of the enlightened peapresently refer, in which the sites of the sant. Druidical faith are selected as the special A single instance, recorded by Souvestheatres for the performance of Christian tre, will sufficiently illustrate the intrepid miracles.

devotion of priests and people. At Crozon Of all the provinces of France, Brittany all the churches were demolished; the is the richest in the evidences of religious priests, tracked day and night, could not sentiment. The fields, the causeways, the find a solitary spot to offer up the mass in streets, the mountains, are starred with security ; the villages were filled with solchurches, chapels, crosses, images, expia- diers. In this extremity, how did they tory monuments, and consecrated chaplets. contrive to perform the offices of religion, A notion was entertained on the return of the to baptize the new-born, to marry the affiBourbons, of restoring the road-side crosses anced? Listen! that had been demolished during the revolution; but it was found that the recon

"Midnight sounds: a flickering light rises at struction of the crosses at the cross-roads a distance on the sea: the tinkle of a bell is heard in Finisterre alone would cost no less than from every creek, rock, and sinuosity of the

half lost in the murmur of the waves. Instantly 1,500,000 francs, and the intention was of beach, long black shadows are seen gliding course abandoned. The nation could not across the waters. These are the boats of the afford to indulge in so expensive a luxury; fishermen freighted with men, women, children, but the piety of the Bretons, fortunately and the aged of both sexes, who direct their did not stand in need of such suggestive course towards the open sea, all steering to the helps. It had successfully resisted too

same point. The bell now grows louder, the many shocks, and survived too much per-ject that has drawn this multitude together ap

light becomes more distinct, and at last the obsecution, to require the admonitions of

pears in the midst of the ocean! It is a bark, tinsel Virgins, and Saints twice crucified on the deck of which stands a priest ready to in the agonies of village art.

celebrate mass. Assured of having God only The sanguinary agents of the revolution for a witness, he has convoked the neighboring had tough work to do in this sturdy pro. parishes to this solemnity, and the faithful peovince. The struggle in Brittany between ple have responded to his call. They are all

their knees, between the sea rolling heavily the guillotine and the unlettered faith of beneath, and the heavens above darkened with the people was long and obstinate. The clouds !" Bretons clung to their religion with unexampled fidelity, until they wearied the guil. Can any one imagine a more striking spec. lotine with victims. There was no em tacle! Night, the billows, two thousand ployment of physical force, no resistance: heads bent lowly round the man standing the population were calm and resolute. over this abyss, ihe chants of the holy ofEvery man's mind was made up to martyr- fice, and, between each response, the awful dom, and, with a few insignificant excep. menaces of the sea murmuring like the tions, the inhabitants of Basse-Bretagne voice of God! were inaccessible to the terrors or the It is a natural sequence that a strong atseductions of power. Throughout the tachment, amounting almost to infatuation, whole of that memorable season of car- should exist between pastors and their nage they remained, as one of their graphic flocks who have suffered so much in comhistorians describes them, on their knees mon; and this attachment, as might be exwith clasped hands: an attitude which pected, is not unfrequently heightened into they kept to the end, till the clotted knife fanaticism on the part of the people. The fell from the hands of their executioners. Breton priests occupy the most conspicuThe priests and the people were true to ous place in the foreground of the picture. each other to the last extremity. In vain They wield an unlimited ascendency over the republican committees pronounced the the confiding and sensitive population. Tapenalty of death against the minister who ken direct from the plough, clothed in the could celebrate any of the functions of the coarsest cassocks, with heavy brogues to protect his feet, and a stout stick in his their superstitions. Living apart from the hand, the devoted minister traverses the rest of the world, and buried in their grim muddy roads and the most difficult moun- solitudes, they have no reunion except the tain paths, at all seasons of the year, with church. It is their spectacle. The prounflagging zeal, to carry the viaticum to cessions and religious ceremonies, the fêtes, the dying, or offer up prayers for the dead. and saints' days, and anniversaries, fill up He is followed everywhere with love and the void of their desires; and to these ends, awe. His aid is sought at all times of ca- as the pleasures and graces of their lives, lamity, and his counsel brings strength and the whole poetical capacity of their nature comfort. His sermons possess almost di- is directed. Hence, all their customs are vine authority, and exercise a supernatural tinged, more or less, with religious feeling, power upon his audience. The crowd pal. Until very recently they had no physicians pitate under his appeals, like the sea under amongst them; and priests, prayers, and a storm. They cry aloud, weep, shriek, offerings were resorted to in lieu of mediand fling themselves upon the earth, in that cine. At the first indication of disease, at delirium of religious enthusiasm which su- the solemn hour of death, and even long pervenes upon the undue excitement of the after the grave has received its tenant, the passions to the exclusion of the reason. offices of religion are invoked for help and In all states of society, such exhibitions are consolation. The dying are soothed with deplorable ; but in the Breton they are at candles and devotions, the dead celebrated least natural and sincere, and contribute, in annual fêtes. The morrow of All Saints in the absence of healthier influences, to sees the bereaved family gathered in the regulate and control the simple morality of common apartment, and, in accordance his life. Sometimes they react upon the with a curious and pathetic superstition, priest himself, and convert the apostle of they leave some meat upon a table as they The frenzy into its victim. On one occa- retire from the room, under the certain be. sion a poor zealot, who had probably be- lief that the dead will return to the scene come insane through the excitement of his of their household affections to partake of arduous ministry, and who used to sleep at the anniversary repast. the foot of a stone cross by the roadside Like all other countries, Brittany has through summer and winter, informed the undergone changes, and received the vacassembled crowd that Christ had appeared cination of knowledge. But there are to him, and asked him for his left hand. large districts, upon the confines of which " It is yours, Lord,” he answered. “I have civilization, in our active and accumulated kept my promise,” he cried to the affrighted sense of the term, is still arrested by the congregation, raising his left arm over his feudal immobility of the population. These head-a stump bandaged with bloody linen: districts are principally comprehended in then, in a fit of horrible inspiration, he tore the departments of Finisterre, Morbihan, the linen from the reeking wound, and, and the Côtes-du-Nord ; and it is here we making a semicircle in the air, flung the must look for these surviving characterisstreaming blood for ten feet round him on tics of the middle ages which confer such the heads of the people.

peculiar interest upon the people. There Notwithstanding such revolting inci- are certain minor points of contrast amongst dents, however, the relations between the the departments themselves; but in the es. pastor and his flock are productive of im- sential attributes of nationality there is a portant advantages in the existing condi- common agreement. They all have their lion of the population. The Breton has Druidical remains, and old castles, and trafew ideas beyond those revealed to him by ditions connected with them; they all have religion. He is a man living within the ballads and balladmongers, lays and superechoes of civilization, yet far enough oft stitions; and wherever you move amongst not to be able to distinguish its voice. them, you are sure to fall in with an hisVillemarqué tells us that when he was mak- torical recollection already familiar in some ing his collection of ballads, travelling shape to most of the literatures of Europe. through all parts of the country, visiting It is in this enchanted ground you hear the popular festivals, pardons, veillés, filer- from the lips of the peasantry a thousand ies, and fairs, and mixing familiarly with legends about the Round Table ; until at the people, he found to his great astonish- last you get so accustomed to the famous ment, that they were all well acquainted names, hitherto revealed to you only in the with their national ballads, but that not one antiquated diction of the unpronounceable of them could read. In this vast want of old poetry, that you would not be very mental resources, they are thrown upon much surprised if some of the stalwart

« 上一頁繼續 »