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Title: Strange Teas, Dinners, Weddings and Fetes
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    COPYRIGHT 1887


      II. A JAPANESE DINNER                        21
     III. A ROMAN CHRISTMAS                        31
      IV. SYLVESTER-ABEND                          42
       V. A COPTIC WEDDING                         51
      VI. IN THE BOIS DE BOULOGNE                  57
     VII. AN ARAB DINNER-PARTY                     66
      IX. A SIAMESE HAIR-CUTTING                   91
       X. OLD ENGLISH HARVEST CUSTOMS              96
      XI. EASTER AT JERUSALEM                     109
     XII. THE MOQUI SNAKE-DANCE                   115





WHEN I lived in Syria, Midhat Pasha was appointed governor of the
Pashalic in which I resided, and came with great pomp and ceremony to
assume the duties of his position. His retinue consisted of a great
many guards, servants and soldiers, and, as they passed through the
street just below my balcony, I looked at them all with a great deal of

The Pasha rode a fine bay horse and was dressed in European costume,
excepting that he wore a turban instead of a hat. He was short and
stout, well bronzed by the sun, and had that air of command which so
much distinguishes a soldier if he possesses it. He seemed to be about
fifty years of age, although I have heard he was much older.

Just here I shall tell you that I never saw a tall and slender Turk,
though I have seen many handsome ones. They all seemed to show in their
features and frame their Tartar origin.

Damascus is the capital of the Pashalic, and Midhat went there to live
in the palace of the Governors, which is near the famous Mosque of the
Sultan Selim. Damascus is about ninety miles from Beirût, and the road
that connects the two cities is an excellent one. It was built by the
French after the terrible massacres in the Lebanon Mountains in 1860.

We soon heard the new Pasha was very much disliked in Damascus. He
tried to reform several abuses in the administration of affairs, and
gave great offence to all classes of the people; so he brought his
family with him and came to live in Beirût.

The Turks are Orthodox Mohammedans, you know, and are polygamists. In
his youth Midhat married a lady, who was remarkable for her goodness,
and he esteemed her very much. But this lady had a great sorrow, for
no little children were hers. After awhile she asked Midhat to marry a
lady she knew, and he did so.

These ladies were very fond of one another; the elder was the adviser
and counselor of her husband, interested in politics and business; the
other was very industrious, made beautiful fancy-work and embroidery,
and was always busy with her needle, so neither became a horrible
scold, nor a lazy, fat animal, as almost all Mohammedan women become
because they are so idle and have nothing to think about.

I knew the two dear little children of the second wife. The boy,
Mehemet Ali, was seven years old, and the little girl, Fareedie, was
five. I became acquainted with them in this way.

Midhat wished the children to be well educated, and he engaged an
English lady, named Mrs. Smith, to be their governess, with the
distinct understanding that she was never in any way to mention any
of the doctrines of our Christian religion to them. This was a hard
thing for her to promise, but she did so and assumed the charge of the
children. They slept in a room opening from hers and she watched over
them night and day with loving care. I knew Mrs. Smith very well, and
through her knew the children and their mother.

The little ones could speak French very well (French is the favorite
language of all Orientals), but not any English.

I seem to be a long time in reaching my story, but I had to tell you
all this, else how would you have known who Mehemet Ali and Fareedie
were, or how extraordinary it was for the children of a Turkish Pasha
to go anywhere to tea?

I invited them to take luncheon with me, but Mrs. Smith said that would
interfere with their morning lessons, so the invitation was changed,
and I asked them to come to tea.

It was a beautiful November afternoon (November in Syria is warm and is
the perfection of weather), and I sent a carriage for them at half-past
three o'clock. They soon came, no one with them but Mrs. Smith.

Mehemet Ali wore a light gray suit made like an American boy's, only
his trousers were long and he had a red tarboosh on his head. He had
worn a hat, but this gave offence to the Turks and was one of the
charges made against his father by the people of Damascus, so it had
been discarded.

Fareedie wore a dark blue velvet frock with a frill of lace around the
neck, and on her feet were little red Turkish slippers. She was very
beautiful, eager and quick--nay, passionate in all her feelings--and
from the time she entered my house until she left it in a quiver
of excitement. When she came in, she kissed me on the cheek and
gave me some white jasmine blossoms strung like beads upon a fine
wire, something little Syrian children are very fond of. Her first
astonishment was the long mirror in my wardrobe; she never had seen
one before, and when she caught sight of herself in it, she cried
breathlessly: "Oh! _très jolie! très jolie!_" and turned herself in
every direction to see the effect, then ran to me and gave me another
kiss and called me, "_chère Madame_."

She darted hither and thither, looking at every thing and chattering;
but Mehemet Ali was very grave, although his little beady black eyes
were looking at everything also, and showed the interest he felt but
wished to conceal.

Now Fareedie was on the balcony looking down on the fountain below
and some shrubs covered with wonderful large blue flowers (like
morning-glories, only ever so much larger)--"trees of flowers," she
called the shrubs; then she spied a little rocking-chair, something
that was a wonderful curiosity to her, and, when told that she might
sit in it, she rocked back and forth furiously, till I really feared
she would break her pretty little neck.

I said to Mrs. Smith, "This will never do; I will take her on my lap
and show her pictures."

"Yes," said she, "that will be a great treat, for she has never seen

"It is not possible!" I exclaimed.

"Indeed it is. You forget the Mohammedans do not allow pictures
anywhere in their houses, and the little books I have to teach the
children from are French ones without illustrations."

By this time I had gotten a book of Natural History, and, taking the
little girl on my knees, I said I would show her something. I opened
the book at random, and I shall never forget the look upon Fareedie's
face, nor the quiver that ran through her little body, when she saw the
picture and screamed out, "_Tigre! Tigre!_"

At this Ali ran to us and the two turned over the pages hurriedly,
mentioning the names of each animal they knew, with a delight I cannot
describe to you.

Then Ali said, "Perhaps, Madame, it may be you have a picture of an
engine of a ship--is it so?"

(This sentence of Ali's I have translated for fear it would be hard for
you, if I gave it in French. You remember he did not know English.)

"Now what shall I do!" I thought, "for I don't know anything about
engines, and I don't know where to find any pictures of them;" but
the black eyes helped in the search, and before I could think where
to look the boy seized upon a copy of the _Scientific American_, and
there, fortunately, were several pictures of engines and boilers. He
did not move for a long time afterward, except to say, "It is a regret
that I do not know the English to read." He sat as still as a statue,
perfectly absorbed, even pale, so intense were his feelings.

Soon Prexea, my slender Syrian maid, came in and announced that tea was
served. Prexea was a Greek in religion and hated the Turks, so she was
not in a good humor, as I knew very well by the way she opened the door.

Fareedie ran into the dining-room, but Ali evidently did not wish to
lay down his paper, till Mrs. Smith gently told him he must; then he

"A table! Chairs! How droll! How droll!" cried Fareedie.

And now a great difficulty presented itself. They had never sat at a
table, and I had no high chairs for them. They always sat on the floor,
on a rug, to eat, and had a low Arabic table put in front of each of
them. Their tables are about eighteen inches high, made of olive wood
inlaid with mother-of-pearl and silver, perhaps all silver. As to
dishes, the children seldom had even a bowl.

Arabic bread is very peculiar. It is baked in thin flat cakes, about
the size of a dinner plate, and does not look in the least like bread,
more like leather. The children usually had one of these cakes for the
dish, and all that they were to have to eat would be put on it, then
another cake would be given to them which they would break in pieces,
using them as spoons, and last of all, eating spoons and dish, too.

So you can imagine how surprised they were when they saw my table. But
what about chairs for them? A brilliant idea struck me. I ran to the
bookcase and got two dictionaries, which I put on the chairs they were
to occupy, and with Ali on Webster's and Fareedie on Worcester's, we
began our meal.

Ali had been very serious during these proceedings and, as soon as we
were seated, he pointed to my sideboard and the silver on it, and said
impressively, "_Très magnifique!_"

The knives and forks were too much for them. They sawed away with the
one and speared the food with the other so ineffectively, that we told
them they might eat with their fingers, which they did very nicely.

I had tea and coffee, sandwiches, cold chicken, blackberry jam, and
other sweets and cake. The sandwiches were of eggs, not ham, of course;
for it would have been an insult to their parents to have let them
taste pork, which is held in great abhorrence by all Mohammedans. Why,
many of them will not wear European shoes, for fear the bristles of
swine may have been used in sewing them.

Both children asked for coffee "_à la Frank_," as they called it. They
had never seen it with cream in it, nor served in anything but a tiny
Oriental cup. I gave it to them in our own coffee cups, with plenty of
cream in, and they stirred it with their spoons and said it was "very

Fareedie was a little sloppy, I must confess, but otherwise they
behaved very politely.

But the questions they asked! Fareedie was an animated interrogation
point, I thought; and after tea Ali lost his impassiveness, and went
round the house examining everything with curiosity, especially
anything that could be moved, or had casters on it.

At last the visit was over. My tall "cawass" came in and announced
the carriage was at the door to take them home. With many promises to
come again, they went away, kissing me lovingly, Ali with the coveted
_Scientific American_ under his arm, and Fareedie with a cup and saucer
her little heart had longed for.

But they never did come, and I never saw them anywhere again. For,
Wasif Effendi, the Secretary of the Pasha, hated Mrs. Smith, and by
some underhand means contrived to have her dismissed. Then Midhat
was transferred to Smyrna, and my little friends left Beirût,
never to return, I fear. Perhaps you know the Pasha was ordered to
Constantinople and tried for the murder of the Sultan Abdul Aziz. It
was proved that he had been an accomplice, and he was exiled for life,
to a place called Jeddah.

And there on the shores of the terrible Red Sea, near Mecca, and far
from all civilizing and good influences, my dear little friends are
forced to live. Their father is dead, but his family are still at

You would be surprised to know how often I think of them, and how sad
it makes me. Their future is full of peril. I wonder if they ever think
of me!



THE dinner was given at the _Koyokan_, a club-house in the city of
Tokio, so called from the abundance of maple trees by which it is
surrounded; _kōyō_ meaning the red maple leaves of autumn, and _kan_
meaning house.

We took off our shoes at the door, and those who had not been
sufficiently provident to bring with them a pair of wool slippers,
entered in their stocking feet.

We were at once greeted by our host and hostess. Japanese ladies do
not often act the hostess at a dinner-party, but usually remain in
the background. Our friend, however, having travelled considerably in
America and Europe, was advanced in his ideas, and gave his wife a
wife's place.

Several beautiful Japanese girls were in waiting who at once conducted
us to a spacious dining-room on the second floor.

Going out on the long piazza adjoining, we saw in the distance the bay
with its calm blue waters and white-winged boats; and to the right
Mount Fuji, her peerless head losing itself in ambient clouds; while at
our feet lay a bewildering maze of dwelling houses, shops, and temples.

The floor of the porch was polished smooth as marble, and the patterns
in the lattice work were graceful combinations of maple leaves.

As we re-entered the dining-room our first impression was that of a
vast empty apartment. The only visible signs of preparation for our
coming were the cushions upon which we were to sit, and the _hibachi_
or fire bowls, over which we were to toast our fingers. We sat down
upon the mats, trying hard to fold our limbs under us _à la Japanese_,
but our attempts were for the most part very awkward.

Then came some introductions. Our host had invited two friends to meet
us, Mr. and Mrs. Suyita. Mr. Suyita, being a Japanese of the old school
and very ceremonious, bowed low, so low that his honorable nose quite
kissed the floor; and remembering that when we are in Turkey we must
do as the Turkeys do, we endeavored to salute him in the same formal

At length recovering our equilibrium we resumed our old position on
the mats, tried to look comfortable, and began to study the details
of our surroundings. The cushions upon which we sat were covered with
beautiful dark-blue crêpe relieved here and there by branches of maple
leaves, the rich October coloring making a striking but exquisite
contrast with the more sombre background. The mats were marvellously
fine, and so clean that one might suppose our party the first that had
ever assembled there.

At one end of the room just above the _toko-noma_, or raised platform
on which all the ornaments of the room are placed, was a _kakemono_, or
picture scroll, the work of a celebrated painter named Isanenobu, and
very old. On this platform stood a large vase of brown wicker work so
wondrously fine that at a little distance it appeared like an elegant
bronze. In this vase were branches of flowering plum and cherry
arranged as only Japanese know how to arrange flowers. The ceilings
were panels of cryptomeria, and without either paint or varnish, were
beautiful enough for a prince's palace.

This immense room was divided by sliding doors into three apartments.
The doors were covered with paper. Here, too, was the prevailing
pattern, for over the rich brown background of the paper were
maple-leaf designs in gold and silver, and above the doors were
paintings of maple branches with foliage of scarlet, maroon, and every
shade of green. On the opposite side of the room was another raised
platform. Here also were two large vases, and in them branches of
flowering shrubs, some of which were covered with lichens. A bronze
ornament of rare workmanship stood between, for which many a seeker of
curiosities would give hundreds of dollars.

Soon beautiful serving-maids entered and placed in front of us trays
on which were tea and sweetmeats. In Japan the dessert comes first.
The trays were ornamented with carvings of maple leaves, the tea-cups
were painted in the same design, and the cakes themselves were in
the shape of maple leaves, with tints as glowing, and shading almost
as delicate as though painted by the early frosts of autumn. We ate
some of the cakes and put some in our pockets to carry home. It is
etiquette in Japan to take away a little of the confectionery, and
paper is often provided by the hostess in which to wrap it. The native
guests put their packages in their sleeves, but our sleeves were not
sufficiently capacious to be utilized in this way. I have been told
that at a foreign dinner given to General Grant in Japan, some of the
most dignified officials, in obedience to this custom, put bread and
cake, and even butter and jelly, into their sleeves to take home.

After our first course came a long interval during which we played
games and amused ourselves in various ways. At the end of this time
dinner was announced. Once more we took our places on the cushions
and silently waited, wondering what would happen next. Soon the
charming waiters again appeared and placed on the floor in front of
each visitor a beautiful gold lacquer tray, on which were a covered
bowl of fish soup, and a tiny cup of _sake_. _Sake_ is a light wine
distilled from rice, and is of about the strength of table sherry. A
paper bag containing a pair of chopsticks also rested upon the tray;
and taking the chopsticks out, we uncovered our soup and began to look
around to see how our Japanese friends were eating theirs. We shyly
watched them for a moment. It looked easy; we were sure we could do it,
and confidently attempted to take up some of the floating morsels of
fish; but no sooner did we touch them, than they coyly floated off to
the other side of the bowl. We tried again, and again we failed; and
once again, but with no better success. At last our perseverance was
partially rewarded, and with a _veni-vidi-vici_ air we conveyed a few
solid fragments to our mouths, drank a little of the soup, and then
covering our bowl, as we saw others do, we waited for something else to

In the meantime large china vessels of hot water had been brought in
and our host kindly showed us their use. Emptying his _sake_ cup,
he rinsed it in the hot water, and then re-filling it with wine,
presented it to a friend who emptied his cup, rinsed and re-filled it
in the same way, and gave it in exchange for the one he received.

The next course consisted of fish, cakes made of chestnuts, and yams;
the third, of raw fish with a very pungent sauce; the fourth, of
another kind of fish and ginger root. After this we were favored with
music on the _ningenkin_. This is a harp-like instrument giving forth
a low weird sound, utterly unlike anything I have ever heard called
music. The fifth course consisted of fish, ginger root, and "_nori_," a
kind of seaweed.

After this we had more music, this time on the _koto_. The _koto_ is
also something like a harp in appearance. The performer always wears
curious ivory thimble-like arrangements on the tips of her fingers, and
to my uneducated ear, the so-called music is merely a noise which any
one could make. We were next favored with singing. This, too, was low
and plaintive, bearing about the same resemblance to the singing of a
European that the cornstalk fiddle of a country schoolboy bears to
the rich mellow tones of a choice violin. This same singing, however,
is regarded as a great accomplishment in Japan. The singer on this
occasion was a rare type of Japanese beauty, fair as a lily, with hands
and feet so delicate and shapely that she was almost an object of envy.
Her coiffure, like the coiffures of all Japanese women, was fearfully
and wonderfully made. Her dress was of the richest crêpe, quite long
and very narrow, opening in front to display a gorgeous petticoat,
and with square flowing sleeves that reached almost to the floor. Her
_obi_, or girdle, was brocade stiff with elegance, and probably cost
more than all the rest of the costume. The mysteries of the voluminous
knot in which it was tied at the back I will not pretend to unravel.
Her face and neck were powdered to ghostly whiteness, and her lips
painted a bright coral; altogether she looked just like a picture, not
like a real woman at all.

After this came another course consisting of fowl and fish stewed
together in some incomprehensible way. There was also an entree of
pickled fish. The eighth course consisted of fish and a vegetable
similar to asparagus; the ninth of rice and pickled _daikon_. Rice is
the staple dish, and, according to Japanese custom, is served last.
The _daikon_ is a vegetable somewhat resembling a radish. It grows to
an enormous size. Indeed it is a common saying among vegetable-growers
that one _daikon_ grown in the province of Owari, takes two men to
carry it, and that two Satsuma turnips make a load for a pony. This
sounds somewhat incredible, and yet it is stated for a fact that a
_daikon_ was not long ago presented to the emperor which measured
over six feet in girth. These monster turnips are generally sound to
the core; and to the Japanese they are an exceedingly delicate and
palatable aliment; with us the odor of them alone is sufficient to
condemn them.

Last of all came tea which was served in the rice bowls without washing
them. The dinner lasted four hours; and when at the close we attempted
to rise from the mats, our limbs were so stiff from sitting so long in
this uncomfortable position that we could hardly move.

We put on our shoes soon after, and were then conducted round the
grounds. In the same enclosure was a summer rest-house for the Mikado.
We looked inside for the _shōji_, or sliding doors, were all open, and
we could see the whole length of the house. Here, as in all Japanese
houses, the mats were the only furniture. They were beautifully fine,
and the rooms though empty were attractive.

After walking about for a little while we went through a long
calisthenic exercise of bows, and with warmest thanks to our kind host
and hostess, stowed ourselves away in _jinrikishas_, and rode off to
our homes.

This of course is not a description of an ordinary dinner in Japan.
Indeed it was a very extraordinary one given in honor of a party of
Americans about to return to the United States. The common people dine
with very little formality. Bread, beef, milk and butter are unknown
to them. They live principally on rice, fish, and vegetables, served
in very simple fashion; and they eat so rapidly that dyspepsia is even
more common in Japan than in America.



CHRISTMAS is as great a day for young Romans as it is for young
Americans, and on it they, like other boys and girls, eat too much
candy and get more new toys than they know what to do with. But they
have one way of keeping it which other children do not have; and as I
was in Rome one Christmas, I will tell you what I saw them do.

In the morning, about half-past ten, I went to a church on the Capitol
Hill, called Church of the Altar of Heaven. This hill is high and
there are one hundred and twenty-four steps leading to the door of
the church. It was a dull gray day, and the rain was pouring down so
hard that there were little pools and streams all over the old stone
steps. But many people were going up. There were men from the country
in blue coats and short trousers, and women with bodices and square
white head-dresses, who carried the largest umbrellas you have ever
seen, blue or green, or purple with bright borders around them. And
there were children, more than you could count, some with the country
people, others with their nurses, and many who were very ragged, all
by themselves. At the top of the steps men were selling pious pictures
and did not seem to mind the rain in the least. Over the doors were red
hangings in honor of Christmas.

Inside were more people. At the far end service was going on and the
monks, to whom the church belongs, were chanting, and there was a great
crowd around the altar. But near the door by which I came in, and in
a side aisle was a still larger crowd, and it was here that all the
little ones had gathered together. They were waiting in front of a
chapel, the doors of which were closed tight. For they knew that behind
them was the Manger which every year the monks put up in their church.
Right by the chapel was a big statue of a Pope, larger than life, and
some eager boys had climbed up on it and were standing at its knee.
And some who had arrived very late were perched on another statue like
it on the other side, and even in the baptismal font and on tombstones
at the foot of the church. Women and men were holding up their babies,
all done up in queer tight bandages, that they too might see. And all
were excited and looking impatiently down the long aisle. Presently, as
I waited with the children, there came from the side door a procession.
First came men in gray robes, holding lighted tapers, then monks in
brown with ropes around their waists, and last three priests who
carried a statue of the Infant which is almost as old as the church
itself. When they reached the chapel the doors were thrown open, and
they took this statue in and placed it at the foot of those of the
Virgin and St. Joseph.

I wish you could have been there to look in as I did. It was all so
bright and sunny and green. It seemed like a bit of summer come back.
In front was the Holy Family with great baskets of real oranges and
many bright green things at their feet. And above them, in the clouds,
were troops of angels playing on harps and mandolins, and in the
distance you could see the shepherds and their sheep, and then palm
trees, and a town with many houses. It was so pretty that a little
whisper of wonder went through all the crowd, while many of the boys
and girls near me shouted aloud for joy.

So soon as the procession was over, every eye was turned from the
chapel to a small platform on the other side of the church. It had
been raised right by an old column which, long before this church
was built, must have stood in some temple of Pagan Rome. Out on the
platform stepped a little bit of a girl, as fresh and as young as the
column was old and gray. She was all in white, and she made a pretty
courtesy to the people, and then when she saw so many faces turned
towards her, she tried to run away. But her mother, who was standing
below, would not let her, but whispered a few words in her ear, and the
little thing came back and began to give us all a fine sermon about
the Christ-child. Such funny little gestures as she made! Just like a
puppet, and, every now and then, she looked away from us and down into
her mother's face, as if the sermon were all for her. But her voice was
very sweet, and by and by she went down on her knees and raised her
hands to Heaven and said a prayer as solemnly as if she really had been
a young preacher. But after that, with another courtesy, she jumped
down from her pulpit platform as fast as ever she could.

And this is the way Roman children celebrate Christmas. On Christmas
Day, and for a week afterwards, for one hour every afternoon, they
preach their sermons, and all the people in the city and the country
around, the young and the old, the grave and the gay, come to hear them.

I made a second visit to the church two or three days later. The rain
had stopped and the sky was bright and blue, and the sun was shining
right on the steps, for it was about three in the afternoon. And such
a sight you have never seen! From top to bottom people were going and
coming, many in the gayest of gay colors. And on each side were pedlers
selling toys. "Everything here for a cent!" they were calling. And
others were selling books, through which an old priest was looking, and
oranges with the fresh green leaves still on their stems, and beans,
which the Romans love better than almost anything else, and pious
pictures and candy. Ragged urchins, who had spent their pennies, had
cleared a space in one corner and were sending off toy trains of cars.
Climbing up in front of me, two by two, were about twenty little boys,
all studying to be priests and dressed in the long black gowns and
broad-brimmed hats which priests in Italy wear. To one side was a fine
lady in slippers with such high heels that she had to rest every few
minutes on her way up. On the other were three old monks with long gray
beards and sandals on their bare feet. And at the church door there
was such pushing in and out that it took me about five minutes to get


Here I found a greater crowd even than on Christmas. There were
ever so many peasants, the men's hair standing straight up on end,
something like Slovenly Peter's only much shorter, and the women,
clasping their bundles of babies in their arms. And close to them were
finely dressed little girls and boys with their nurses. If you once
saw a Roman nurse, you would never forget her, for she wears a very
gay-colored dress, all open at the neck, around which are strings of
coral. And on her head is a ruching of ribbon, tied at the back with a
bow and long ends, and through her hair is a long silver pin, and in
her ears, large ear-rings. And there were many priests and monks and
even soldiers, and the boys had climbed up again on the statues, and
one youngster had put a baby he was taking care of right in the Pope's

The lights were burning in the Manger, but the people were standing
around the platform, for the preaching had begun. Before I left I heard
about ten little boys and girls make their speeches. One or two of the
girls were quite grown up, that is to say they were perhaps ten or
twelve years old. And they spoke very prettily and did not seem in the
least bit afraid. Some wore fine clothes and had on hats and coats, and
even carried muffs. But others had shabby dresses, and their heads
were covered with scraps of black veils. First came a young miss, whose
words tumbled out of her mouth, she was so ready with them, and who
made very fine gestures, just as if she had been acting in a theatre.
And next came a funny little round-faced child, who could hardly talk
because she was cutting her teeth and had none left in the front of
her mouth, and who clutched her dress with both hands, and never once
clasped them or raised them to Heaven, or pointed them to the Manger,
as I am sure she had been taught to do. But she was so frightened I was
glad for her sake when her turn was over. Two little sisters, with hats
as big as the halos around the saints' heads in the pictures, recited a
short dialogue, and all through it they held each other's hands tight
for comfort, even when they knelt side by side and said a prayer for
all of us who were listening. And after that a little bit of a tot said
her little piece, and she shrugged her shoulders until they reached her
pretty little ears, and she smiled so sweetly all the time, that when
she had finished every one was smiling with her, and some even laughed
outright. But while they were still laughing a boy, such a wee thing,
even smaller than the little smiler, dressed in a sailor suit and with
close-cropped yellow head, toddled out. He stood still a moment and
looked at us. Then he opened his mouth very wide, but not a word could
he get out. His poor little face grew so red, and he looked as if he
were about to cry. And the next moment he had rushed off and into his
mother's arms. But indeed the big boy who took his place was almost
as badly scared, and half the time he thrust his hands deep into his
pockets, and you could see it was hard work for him to jerk them out to
make a few gestures.

They were all pretty little sermons and prayers, and I think they must
have done the people good. When I went out from the cool gray church
on to the steps again, the sun shone right into my eyes and half
blinded me, and perhaps it was that which made me sneeze twice. A small
bareheaded girl ran out from the crowd when she heard me, and cried
"_Salute!_" which is the Italian way of saying "God bless you." And I
thought it a very fitting Amen to the sermons.



SYLVESTER-ABEND is one of the prettiest and brightest of German
festivals and is almost as much enjoyed as Christmas Eve, but I do not
know that any one has described it to American children.

It so happened a few years ago that I was spending the holidays in one
of the pleasantest homes in one of the most beautiful towns of South
Germany, and there I learned how this festival was kept.

The first of January being in that country St. Sylvester's Day, it is
New Year's Eve which is celebrated as Sylvester Eve, or Abend.

"You will come into the drawing-room, after coffee, and see the
Christmas-tree plundered," the Doctor's wife had said to me, smiling,
at dinner; and all the children had clapped their hands and shouted,
"Oh yes! the Christmas-tree plundered, huzza!"

There were more children around the Frau Doctor's table than you
could easily count. Indeed, there were more than the long table could
accommodate, and three or four had to be seated at the round "Cat's
table" in the bow window. There were the two fair-haired little
daughters of the house, their tall, twelve-year-old brother, two little
Russian boys, three Americans, and another German, who boasts of being
the godson of the Crown Prince; all these were studying under the
direction of Monsieur P---- the French tutor. Besides, there were half
a dozen older boys, who had come from all parts of the globe, England,
Cuba, Chili, and where not, to study with the Herr Doctor himself, who
is a learned German Professor. And since to-day was holiday--there
was little Hugo, pet and baby, standing upon his mother's knee,
clapping his hands and shouting with all his might "Me too! plunder

"Why do you call it Sylvester Evening?" I asked the Frau Doctor.

"Because it _is_ Sylvester evening; that is, to-day is dedicated to
St. Sylvester, in the Romish Calendar. He was bishop of Rome in the
time of the Emperor Constantine, I believe. But there is no connection
between the saint's day and the tree-plundering. Still we always do it
on Sylvester evening, and so, I think, do most people because it is a
convenient time, as every one is sitting up to watch for the birth of
the New Year. In some families, however, the tree is kept until Twelfth
Night, and in yet others it is plundered the third or fourth day after

"Is there any story about St. Sylvester?" asked Nicholas, the bright
little Russian, always on the lookout for stories.

"More than one; but I have only time to tell you one which I think the
prettiest. You are not to believe it, however.

"When the Emperor Constantine who had been a heathen, was converted
to Christianity, some Jewish Rabbis came, to try to make him a Jew.
St. Sylvester was teaching the Emperor about Christ, and the Rabbis
tried to prove that what he said was false; but they could not. At
this, they were angry, and they brought a fierce wild bull, and told
Sylvester to whisper his god's name in its ear, and he should see that
it would fall down dead. Sylvester whispered, and the beast did fall
dead. Then the Rabbis were very triumphant. Even the emperor began to
believe that they must be right. But Sylvester told them that he had
uttered the name of Satan, not of Christ, in the bull's ear, for Christ
gave life, not destroyed it. Then he asked the Rabbis to restore the
creature to life, and when they could not, Sylvester whispered the name
of Christ, and the bull rose up, alive, and as mild and gentle as it
had before been fierce and wild. Then everybody present believed in
Christ and Sylvester baptized them all."

The Christmas-tree, which all the week had stood untouched, to be
admired and re-admired, was once more lighted up when we went into the
drawing-room in the early twilight after four o'clock coffee. All the
children were assembled, from the oldest to the youngest, and gazing in
silent admiration; little Hugo, with hands clasped in ecstasy, being
the foremost of the group. As you probably know, the Christmas presents
had not been upon the tree itself, but upon tables around it. It was
the decorations of the tree, candy and fruit, and fantastic cakes,
very beautiful, which had remained, and which we were now to treat as

When Frau Doctor had produced more pairs of scissors than I had
supposed could be found at one time in a single house be it ever so
orderly and had armed the family therewith, the cutting and snipping
began in good earnest. It was a pretty picture: the brilliantly-lighted
tree with its countless, sweet, rich decorations, and the eager
children intent on their "plundering;" the little ones jumping up
to reach the threads from which hung the prizes, and the elder boys
climbing upon chairs to get at those which were upon the topmost boughs.

Frau Doctor received all the rifled treasures, as they were rapidly
brought to her, heaping them upon a great tray, while Monsieur P.
beamed delight through his green spectacles and wide mouth, and Herr
Doctor, in the background, amused himself with the droll exclamations,
in all sorts of bad German, with which the foreign boys gave utterance
to their delight.

When the last ornament was cut off and laid upon the heaped-up tray,
and the last candle had burned out, we adjourned to supper.

When that meal was over and the cloth brushed, the tray was brought
on, and with it two packs of cards. Now came some exciting moments.
All watched as Frau Doctor laid a sweetmeat toy upon each card of one
pack, and then dealt the remaining pack around among us. When all
were provided, she held up the card nearest her, for us all to see,
displaying at the same time, the prize which belonged to it. Then
came an eager search in everybody's hand, and great was the delight
when little Hugo produced a card exactly like the one which his mamma
held up, and received the great gingerbread heart, or "_lebkuchen_"
which happened to belong to that card; for in little Hugo's estimation
_lebkuchen_ was the choicest of dainties. Another card and another,
with their respective sweetmeats, were quickly turned, the children
becoming more eager as one after another received a prize. Again and
again the cards were dealt, for the tray of delicious and funny things
seemed inexhaustible. The game grew more and more merry as it went on.
What cheers greeted the discomfited Monsieur P. as a tiny sugar doll,
in bridal array, fell to his lot! what huzzas resounded when Herr
Doctor threatened to preserve his long cane of sugar-candy, as a rod to
chastise unruly boys withal!

When the last card had been turned, and every place showed a mighty
heap of dainties, the tea-kettle was brought on, and Frau Doctor brewed
some hot lemonade as a substitute for the "punch" which is thought
quite essential at every German merrymaking. In this we drank each
other's healths merrily, the boys jumping up to run around the table
and clink glasses, and all shouting "_lebe hoch!_" at the top of their
lungs after each name. Then we drank greetings to all who, in whatever
land, should think of us this night. This toast was not so noisy as
the others had been, and the unusual quiet gave us time to reckon up
the many places in which our absent relatives were. From Russia to
Australia they were scattered, through nearly every country on the map.

At last, with Frau Doctor's name on our lips, and many clinkings and
wavings of glasses, and shouts of "Frau Doctor, _lebe ho-o-o-ch_!" the
party broke up. The little ones went to bed, the older boys and the
"grown-ups" into the parlor to "watch for the New Year," a ceremony
which may by no means be omitted. What with games and music and eating
of nuts and apples the evening was a short and merry one; but when the
clock pointed to a quarter before midnight, silence fell upon us.

Suddenly, the peals rang out from all the church towers; cannons were
fired and rockets sent up from the market place; we rushed to throw
the windows wide open to let the New Year in. Then we turned and
shook hands all around and wished "Happy New Year;" then again to the
windows. Out of doors all was astir; the bells still pealing, rockets
blazing, people in the streets shouting to one another. The opposite
houses were all lighted up, and through the open windows we could see
all their inmates shaking hands and kissing one another.

But it was too cold to stand long at an open window. The New Year
was already nipping fingers and noses as his way of making friendly
overtures; merry Sylvester-Abend was gone and so we bade each other and
the Old Year good-night.



I KNEW the little bride; a pretty child, not a day over fifteen, with
great, dark eyes and dimpled cheeks, white even teeth, and rich fair
complexion. She had often come in to spend an hour with me in my home
in Cairo, affording me much diversion by her childish, artless ways and
merry laughter.

But now she was to be married--this baby girl. Her future husband had
never seen her face; for, according to the custom of the people, the
parents had made all the arrangements, and the contract usual in such
ceremonies had been drawn up by the fathers and mothers and signed in
the presence of a priest without a word or suggestion from the parties
most concerned in the transaction. The intended bridegroom was a young
clerk in the employ of an English friend, a handsome, intelligent boy,
but with little experience of life. We had heard the wedding was to be
a grand affair, and were glad to accept an invitation to this Egyptian

On the night of the marriage, the bridal procession, or zeffeh as it is
called, looked as if wrapped in flames as it came slowly up the narrow
street in the midst of hundreds of colored torches. A band was playing
Arab tunes and women were ringing out the _zaghareet_--wedding laugh
of joy--which is a kind of trill made with the tongue and throat. The
entire way was lit with expensive fireworks of brilliant variety, and
all the street wraps worn were of gorgeous colors.

Our little friend marched in this slow procession, her features
concealed, as usual; that is, she was wrapped in a cashmere shawl, not
covered by a canopy, as in Arab weddings, although in many respects the
Coptic ceremony is similar to that of the Moslems.

She wore a white silk gown embroidered with gold, and over this a long
flowing robe of lace, while masses of diamonds fastened the white
face-veil to her turban.

Just before her walked two little boys carrying censers the smoke of
which must have poured directly into her face as she walked slowly on
enveloped in her cashmere wrappings.

On either side and a little in advance of the bride were the male
relatives and friends, while behind her, continually trilling the
_zaghareet_, followed the female friends; and along the whole
procession two boys ran back and forth, bearing silver flasks of
pomegranate form filled with perfume which they jetted in the faces of
the guests in a most delicious spray.

The house of the bridegroom's father where the marriage was to take
place, is situated in a narrow street off the Mooski, and as we reached
the entrance we were met by black slaves who handed us each a lighted
taper. Then a sheep was killed on the door-stone--a custom, I believe,
observed only in Cairo, and some of the larger cities of Egypt. The
bride, glittering with her diamonds and gorgeous costume, was carried
over it and then the whole procession walking over the blood--the
body having been removed--all of us bearing our lights--went in to the
marriage, and the door was shut. Does it not remind you of the Parable
of the Ten Virgins of old?

We were conducted to a room, very lofty and spacious. A low divan
reached around it and constituted its sole furniture, excepting the
table on which was spread the marriage supper.

At this supper I witnessed a custom which reminded me of an old Roman
story. A slave brought in two sugar globes on separate dishes. When
these were placed upon the table, one of the guests was invited to
open them. Immediately upon one having been broken, out flew a lovely
white dove, its neck encircled with tiny bells which rang merrily as it
flew about. The other dove did not at first fly, when liberated from
its sugar cage; but one of the guests lifted it up until it fluttered
away like the other. If either of the doves should not fly, these
superstitious people would draw from it an evil omen.

Many Arab dishes were set before us, among them boned fowl stuffed
with raisins, pistachio, nuts, bread and parsley; sweets and melons
following. But as an Arab eats with remarkable rapidity, one course was
hardly brought before another took its place.

We were soon ready to accompany our host to the room where the marriage
ceremony was to be performed, into which we were ushered in the midst
of Arab music, sounding cymbals, smoking-incense, the _zaghareet_, and
the unintelligible mutterings of many priests.

The bridegroom, clad in an immense white silk cloak embroidered with
silk and gold, sat waiting in one of two palatial-looking chairs. In
the midst of a perfect storm of music and confusion a door opened, and
the bride, her face still veiled, entered and took the chair beside the

There were four priests to officiate in this novel marriage, three of
whom were blind; these muttered Coptic prayers and filled the air with
incense, while the priest whose eyes were perfect tied the nuptial
knot by binding the waiting couple to each other with several yards of
tape, knocking their heads together, and at last placing his hands in
benediction on their foreheads and giving them a final blessing.

This concluded the ceremony.

We were glad to escape from the close room into the pure out-of-door
air. We drove away under the clear, star-lit heavens, through the
narrow streets with their tall houses and projecting balconies, out
into the Mooski, the Broadway of Cairo, now silent and deserted; on
into the wide, new streets, and so home; but it was nearly morning
before I fell asleep, for the tumultuous music and trillings and
mutterings of that strange ceremony rang in my ears and filled my
thoughts with as strange reveries as if I had eaten hasheesh.



THE first few years of my life were passed in Paris and, though my
parents were American, I grew up quite like a French child as did,
indeed, my brother and two little sisters.

The greater part of our time was spent in Paris and as we lived near
the Bois de Boulogne we were taken there every day by our _bonne_ and
allowed to play to our hearts' content. Some of you have probably been
in this beautiful park and walked through its broad avenues and its
hundreds of shady little alleys.

You may have followed as we did some of the merry little streams to
find out where they would lead you, or better than all you may have
joined in the play of some of the French children and discovered games
new and strange to you. All this became very familiar to us and I
often think of the good times we had there, when all the days were
like fête days, and of the pretty games we used to play there with the
charming French children.

French children think "the more the merrier;" so when a game is
proposed the first thing they do is to look about and see if there are
not other children near by whom they can ask to join them. This is done
as much for the sake of showing politeness as to increase numbers, and
as it is the custom, the mammas or the nurses of the invited children
never refuse to let them take part in the fun.

Hide-and-seek or "_cache-cache_," blind-man's-buff or "_Colin
Maillard_," tag, marbles, all these we also played; but there were
other games I have never seen in this country.

One of which we never tired was "_Le Loup_--the Wolf." A boy was
usually chosen for the wolf, and while he withdrew a short distance the
others sauntered about among the trees, leisurely singing this little

[Illustration: Music]

    Promenons-nous dans les bois
    pendant que le loup n'y est pas.

    Let us walk in the woods,
    while the wolf is not about.

Then they call "_Loup, viens-tu?_--Wolf, are you coming?" "_Non, je
me lève_--No, I'm getting up," replies the Wolf. Then they sing again
and call, "_Loup, viens-tu?_" "_Non, je m'habille_--No, I'm dressing."
This goes on for some time, the wolf prolonging the agony as much as
possible, and stopping to get his hat, his cane, or cigar, but finally
making a rush with, "_Je viens_--I'm coming!" he dives into the crowd,
scattering the children in every direction and making general havoc.
The one who happens to be captured is the "wolf" the next time.

Another game more limited to little girls, was, "_Sur le Pont
d'Avignon_." We formed a ring and danced around singing:

[Illustration: Music]

    Sur le pont d'Avignon
    on y danse, on y danse,
    Sur le pont d'Avignon,
    on y danse, tout en rond.
    Les dames font comme ça,
    et puis encore comme ça.

"On the bridge of Avignon the people dance in a ring, the ladies do
this way" (courtesying).

The next time it is "_Les blanchiseuses font comme ça_--the
washerwoman, etc.," suiting the action to words; then "_Les couturières
font comme ça_--the dressmakers do this way." Every trade or
occupation was gone through with in like manner with the greatest

Here is another of the same character:

[Illustration: Music]

    1. Savez-vous planter les choux
    à, la mode, à la mode,
    Savez-vous planter les choux
    à, la mode, de chez nous.

    2. On les plantent avec les doigts
    à, la mode, à la mode,
    On les plantent avec les doigts
    à, la mode, de chez nous.

    3. On les plantent avec le pied
    à, la mode, à la mode,
    On les plantent avec le pied
    à, la mode, de chez nous.

But the prettiest of these singing games was "_La Marguerite_." To play
this a circle was formed around _La Marguerite_, who was supposed to be
a beautiful princess waiting to be rescued from her imprisonment. Two
knights seeking her walked round the ring singing:

[Illustration: Music]

    1. Où est la Marguerite?
    Oh qué,
    Oh qué,
    Oh qué,
    Où est la Marguerite,
    Oh qué son chevalier.

    2. Elle est dans son château,
    Oh qué,
    Oh qué,
    Oh qué,
    Elle est dans son château,
    Oh qué son chevalier.

And then, one by one, stones were loosened from the tower; that is,
the ring was made smaller and smaller until _La Marguerite_ was set at

The skipping-rope and the hoop are, or were then, much more used
there then here; and to skip the rope gracefully, or guide a hoop
dexterously, was an accomplishment.

Whoever was agile enough to pass the rope under the feet twice while
giving one skip was looked upon with admiration. New developments
constantly took place with the skipping-rope or "_corde à sauter_,"
and all sorts of evolutions were gone through with, many of which were
pretty and graceful.

Lively games were usually played in some wide open space near the Porte
Maillot, one of the entrances to the Bois, as there was always sure to
be a great number of both grown people and children thereabout. But
there were retired nooks where our little band sometimes gathered and
made merry. One favorite retreat was a pine grove; "_Les Sapins_" we
called it.

Here the little girls liked best to play dolls, or make a _dinette_
with their _goûter_ of a tablet of chocolate and some bread which forms
the regulation lunch of most French children. Sometimes we amused
ourselves in gathering the resinous matter which oozed from the pines,
sticking to the bark, and from it we made little plasters and doll

"_La Mousse_" was the name of another haunt; this was a mossy bank
which on one side sloped gently down to one of the main avenues and on
the other descended abruptly into a ravine called _La Fosse_. It was
a great place for the boys and such a turning of somersets and racings
down the steep sides of the Fosse as there were!

A favorite occupation was the making of gardens; and then there was
a hunt for the prettiest mosses, the tiniest, brightest pebbles and
the most tree-like twigs. Then a place was marked out on the side of
the smooth sandy path and usually near a bench where would be sitting
our _bonnes_ or whoever was taking care of us. Paths were traced and
bordered with the pebbles; smooth lawns made of the velvety moss, and
small branches stuck in for trees; while miniature flower-beds were
made and filled with the smallest flowers to be found.

These gardens were often very pretty and much ingenuity could be
displayed in laying them out. We sometimes made them in some secluded
spot hoping to find them again the next day; but we never did, for
Paris is the neatest city in the world and the Bois de Boulogne
receives its share of cleaning and garnishing every day in the year.

There is nothing "snubby" or ungracious about French children, and I
remember how many a time we helped poor peasant children pick up stray
bits of wood to make their fagots, or invited them to share our fun.

One day we saw a crowd of these children carrying baskets filled with
acacia-blossoms which they said were to be made into fritters!

We found that a large acacia-tree, laden with the snowy fragrant
clusters, had been cut down and the people were plucking as much of the
booty as they could carry away with them. We followed their example
and that evening we had the addition of some delicious fritters to our
dinner. The grape-like clusters had been dipped into a light batter,
fried and sprinkled with sugar; truly they made a dish fit for a king.

Happy hours were those spent in the dear old Bois de Boulogne and if
any of you girls and boys who read this ever go there, may you have as
happy ones!



ONE hot day towards the close of April, when the air fairly danced
between the red sun and the reflected glare of the sand, our dahabeeah,
the _Lohengrin_, was drifting with the current down the Negadeh
reach of the Nile, in Upper Egypt. On each shore a rampart of bleak
desert hills reared their craggy fronts, pouring from their gorges
deep wind-silted shoots of sand which here and there swept over the
narrow river-margin of fertile field and date grove. Few were the
villages that we passed, and those that could be seen nestled under
their canopy of palms, as if seeking refuge from the fierce sun. Their
dusty streets appeared untenanted save for the ever-wheeling flights
of pigeons, and the inevitable dogs, and everything had shunned the
track of the chariot of the Egyptian sun-god, Ra. Everything but the
birds, which--glorying in the heat of the noontide--were abroad on
their bright eastern wings in endless numbers by "field and flood."
Indeed many of the mud-flats, left in mid-stream by the subsidence
of the waters, seemed alive with the noise and movement of feathered
habitants, chattering in a thousand different tones--pompous old
pelicans snapping their absurd bills in contemptuous disapproval of
some silly water-gull's proposition; tall storks and cranes spoiling
their dignity of blue-plumed head and neck by standing on one leg with
the superfluous one tucked carefully out of the way; surly vultures
fanning their wings in the hot sun, and stretching their ugly heads
in gorged laziness; ragged kites swooping amongst a motley crowd of
ravens; quarreling hawks and eagles, fastidious siksaks, terns, and
coots running backwards and forwards over the dry mud, and wondering at
the calm of ducks and geese who preferred standing stationary in the
shallows, whence they in their turn could quack scorn of the spasmodic
energy of the terns and their frantic brethren.

But there is an ennui that comes of watching the slow shifting scenes
of the banks while the dahabeeah drifts onward with the Nile's
current--an ennui that the heat of an Egyptian April day rather
heightens than lessens, wherefore I determined to go ashore for a
ramble. Our destination for the evening was the small village, El
Wasta, some few miles further to the north; so telling my friends
that I would rejoin them there, and taking with me my boon companion
in all such enterprises, a pretty-faced Syrian boy named Gomah, whose
knowledge of a dozen French words and about half that number of
English made him a serviceable interpreter with the Arabs, I rowed
to the western shore. We chose for a landing-place one of those
desert offshoots, and consequently had much tiring exercise trudging
through the soft sand till the borders of the neighboring fields were
reached. Here and there we passed a solitary palm or dwarfed cluster of
sont-trees, and occasionally our steps would lead us by some dry-mud
hollow, startling the repose of some white ibis, or the meditations of
the ubiquitous gray-headed crow.

We had wandered thus by a long circuit inland when, emerging again on
the river, we sighted a small village half-hidden amongst its tall
palms, and too insignificant on the map of the world to bear the
dignity of a name. Between us and its small cluster of huts was a
field of tall clover, by the borders of which were playing about some
young goats too intent on their gamboling to notice how closely they
were being watched by the keen eyes of an eagle perched on a mound
amongst the fodder. This bird I endeavored to stalk by performing the
somewhat tiring feat of crawling through the tall clover with my gun
under me, and, successfully getting within range, brought him toppling
down from his high pinnacle. The subsequent results, however, were very
unexpected. No sooner had I risen to my feet than all the village dogs
set on me, and commenced howling in most atrocious unison, with the
decided intention of resisting my unbidden presence in their domains.
Happily these were soon silenced by a native woman passing at the
moment, whose authority they were in nowise anxious to resent. One old
yellow cur, however, dissatisfied perhaps with the peaceful turn things
had taken, climbed one of the mud huts and from that stronghold of
safety gave vent to most persistent growls.

Several of the men and boys now issued forth from the narrow lanes
of the village, and, after the formalities of salutation had been
interchanged, commenced examining my gun. They seemed greatly pleased
with its appearance, but flatly refused to believe in its powers until
convinced by actual experiment.

While we were thus chatting the shaykh of the village had joined us
unperceived and now coming forward, with many salutations asked me
to visit his house. This I readily assented to as well from a desire
to talk with this gray-bearded old lion in his den, as from the
necessities of Eastern courtesy.

So escorted by some of the Arabs carrying their long staves of
wood or "nebuts," we passed on down the tortuous alleys of this
animated dust-heap, by tumbling hut, and dusty square, by the village
pond--half-dried with the summer heat, and from the margin of which
two or three palms reared their feathered heads, until the party came
to a standstill before a mud-hut, somewhat larger, perhaps, than its
surrounding neighbors, but not a whit less simple or ruinous.

Mud-built, with a low door and two small windows, it had little to
boast of grandeur, except a coat of whitewash which sadly needed
renewing. Like its fellows it was crowned with many white and gray jars
sunk into the muddy composition of the building, wherein a multitude of
pigeons found habitation; while every nook and corner round about these
earthen pigeon-homes was fitted with branches of sont or other wood to
serve as perches for them. Over the doorway was let into the mud of
the lintel the customary broken saucer to guard against and absorb the
harmful intentions of those possessed of the "evil-eye," and having
duly gazed thereon we were bidden to enter this unpretentious "home" of
the village shaykh.

The bright glare of the sun streaming in through the empty doorway
lent a sort of twilight to the interior of the hut sufficient to
distinguish objects clearly by. It was a large room--that is large
as things-Egyptian go--roofed with split palm logs intertwined with
their leaves, and its floor, like the walls, bare mud save for the kind
carpeting of sand which some windy day had carried thither. On two
sides of the room a couple of earthen "divans" faced each other, and
in the far corner was a large kulleh in which the grain provisions of
the family were doubtless stored, but other furniture there was none.
In the wall opposite the entrance, the dark shadow of another doorway
showed in contrast against the brown surroundings, but whether it led
into the intricacies of the shaykh's domestic household, or out into
some village lane, was wrapped in the secrecy of its own gloom.

In the centre of this square swallow's nest sort of habitation the
shaykh, myself, Gomah and some half-dozen elders of the village
had seated ourselves on the floor in a circle, and the inevitable
cigarettes and coffee were handed round. Over these we discussed, more
or less satisfactorily considering the extremely limited linguistic
powers possessed by myself, Gomah and the company, various topics
until the dinner hour of our aged host arrived.

I had hoped to have escaped this ordeal, but the laws of courtesy
forbade any retreat. Moreover I had some ambition to witness the
ordinary dinner of an Arab household, and this taking "potluck" with
a shaykh was a chance too excellent to be missed. The arrangements
were admirably simple, and charmingly well fitted to the general
convenience. In the centre of our circle an Arab boy first placed a
three-legged-stool affair on which he proceeded to balance a large
circular tray, big enough to hold dinner for twice the number of guests
present. In the middle of this improvised table he next placed an
enormous bowl of boiled beans--a veritable vegetable Goliath, steaming
and of decidedly savory odor--which he then surrounded with sundry
small saucers containing butter, sour milk, cream, carraway seeds, and
an infinitude of a peculiar kind of brown bread, which is happily only
to be found in the land of Pharaohs and Ptolemies. By the side of each
person was placed a small kulleh of water, and now the feast was ready.

Though I had attended at something of the same sort before in Egypt I
did not feel quite confident of the _modus operandi_ to be followed
here. Believing that possibly local customs might differ I concluded
the wiser course would be to await events and see how my neighbors
managed, so that I might adopt their method as my own. But alas! Arab
politeness was too rigid to allow me to carry out my desire, and from
the general delay it was evident that I was expected to lead off the

Accordingly putting a bold face on my doubts I broke off a piece of the
bread, dipped it first into the cream (for the excellent reason that
that particular saucer was nearest) then into the milk and anything
that came handy and--purposely forgetting that awful mountain of
beans--tried to look happy while I overcame the difficulties of the
unsavory morsel. Apparently my attempts at guessing the method in vogue
were not wholly unsuccessful, or the manners of my fellow guests were
too good to allow me to think otherwise, and with this debût away all
started at eating.

And how they did eat! To judge by the appetites being displayed around
me, there had not been any food distributed in the village for many a
long day. Into that fast diminishing mound of beans hands were plunging
each moment, bread was being broken and dipped into all the smaller
saucers seemingly indiscriminately, and water ever carried to the
well-nigh choked lips.

In the midst of all this I saw, with much expectant horror, the shaykh
arrange on a small piece of bread a choice (to him) assortment of
beans, butter, cream, and all the strange ingredients of the meal. Too
well I knew what that mistaken courtesy boded for me, and as its maker
leant invitingly forward, I had perforce to allow the old dusky rascal
to pop the undesirable morsel with all its hideous unpalatableness into
my mouth. When I had duly recovered the effects of this moment, the
tragedy had, of course, to be re-enacted on my own part. Calling into
play therefore all my lost memories of how to feed a young blackbird,
I concocted the counterpart of his admixture, and "catching his eye,"
I--well, reciprocated the compliment.

This incident seemed to end the first part of the entertainment and
the despoiled fragments were now taken away to be replaced by a
central pile of bread, adorned with similar small saucers, as before,
containing milk in various stages of sourness, cream, carraway seeds,
and honey. Here again was I expected to give the sign for beginning,
and so taking a fragment of bread I dipped it bodily with all the
contempt that comes of familiarity into the milk first, which loosened
its already very flabby consistency and then into the honey in which
it promptly broke off and stuck. This unlucky essay of mine proved too
much for the mirthfulness of some of the party, but one burly neighbor,
with a gentleness most foreign to his fierce aspect, undertook to show
me how to overcome the difficulty. It was very simple and my fault was
merely the ordinary one of reversing the order of things. First dipping
the bread into the honey my kind instructor then dipped it into the
milk and conveyed the result to his spacious mouth. Thus enlightened
I did likewise and achieved success, and all set to work again at the
edibles before them.

But this course was much less violent than the last, and soon disposed
of. When it was over the boy, who had heretofore filled the part of
food-bearer, came around to each guest in turn and poured over their
hands water from a pitcher which he carried, holding a bowl underneath
meanwhile, and presenting a cloth to each after such ablution. A not
unnecessary service, for the absence of knives and forks at dinner
may have the advantage of economy, and revert for authority to the
primitive days of Eden, but when carried out it is fraught with much
that is compromising to the fingers. Moreover Egyptian honey is no less
sticky than that of other lands.

The dinner was now wound up with coffee and cigarettes--not the least
pleasing part to me--and a hubbub of chatting. But as the evening
shadows were already creeping amongst the palms outside, and El
Wasta--my harbor of refuge for the night--was yet some distance off, I
begged my kind host's permission to continue my way. His Arab courtesy,
however, was not to be hindered even here, and he insisted upon
accompanying me to the confines of his village fields, where with many
pretty excuses for his years and duties he at last consented to bid me

He left me to the care of "two of his young men," as he called them,
charging them to take me safely to El Wasta, the palms of which we
could see far down the river standing out against the evening sky.

Of the many pleasant mental photographs which I have of travel,
that simple dinner with my kind shaykh of the unknown village holds
a prominent tablet to itself. I had asked him for his ancient and
time-worn tobacco-pouch when bidding farewell, that I might have the
excuse of giving him mine in exchange, which at least had the advantage
to an Eastern eye of plenty of color and bright metal. A fellow
traveller whose wanderings have since led him by my steps of that day,
tells me he found the old shaykh still owning that poor gift of mine,
and that he keeps strange talismans and Koranic-script in its recesses
as an infallible preventive against the dangers of ophthalmia, and to
guard against his pigeon homes blowing down.



WE were Americans and lived on one of the West India islands. Which one
I shall not say; you may guess from the hints I give you.

It belonged to Denmark, and was inhabited by people of almost every
nation, for the city was a busy trading place and famous sea-port.

This variety of nationalities is an advantage, or a disadvantage, just
as you choose to think. To us children it was the most delightful thing
in the world--why, we saw a Malay sailor once; but an English novelist,
who wrote many books, visited our island, and said in a contemptuous
way that it was "a Dano-Hispano-Yankee Doodle-niggery place." This was
in the book he published about the West Indies and the Spanish Main. We
children _never forgave that remark_.

An American refers incidentally to our old home in a beautiful story,
called _A Man Without a Country_. How the tears rolled down our cheeks
as we read that Philip Nolan had been there in the harbor--perhaps just
inside Prince Rupert's Rocks!

I wonder if you have read that story? To us it was almost sacred, so
strong was our love of country, and we believed every word to be true.
The first piece of poetry Tom wished to learn was "Breathes there a
man with soul so dead." But Tom was too small to learn anything but
Mother Goose at the time he had his Birthday Party. He was a chubby
little fellow, whose third anniversary was near at hand, and he was so
clamorous for a party--he scarcely knew what a party was, but he wanted
it all the more for that reason--that his parents laughingly gave way
to him.

We did not keep house as people do in this country; in fact the house
itself differed greatly from such as you see.

The climate was warm all the year round, and there were no chimneys
where no fires were needed. There were no glass windows, excepting on
the east side. At all other windows we had only jalousie blinds, with
heavy wooden shutters outside to be closed when a hurricane was feared.
The wonderful Trade Winds blew from the East, and sometimes brought
showers; for this reason, we had glass on that side. The floors were of
North Carolina pine, one of the few woods insects will not eat into and
destroy. It is a pretty cream yellow, that looked well between the rugs
scattered over it. Balconies and wide verandas were on all sides of the

As to servants, they were all colored and we had to have a great many,
for each would only take charge of one branch of service, and usually
must have a deputy or assistant to help. For instance, Sophie, the
cook, had a woman to clean fish, slice beans, and do such work for her,
as well as attend to the fires. There was no stove in the kitchen. A
kind of counter, three feet wide and about as high, built of brick, was
on two sides of the room; this had holes in the top here and there. The
cooking was done over these holes filled with charcoal; so instead of
one fire to cook dinner, Sophie had a soup fire, a fish fire, a potato
fire, and so forth. A small brick oven baked the few things she cooked
that way.

Tom's nurse, or Nana, as all West India nurses were called, was a tall
negress, very dignified and imposing in her manners, and so good we
loved her dearly. She always wore a black alpaca gown, a white apron
covering the whole front of it, a white handkerchief crossed over
her bosom, and one tied over her hair. Her long gold ear-rings were
her only ornaments. These rings were very interesting, because Nana
often announced to us that she had lost a friend and was wearing "deep
mourning." This meant that she had covered her ear-rings with black
silk neatly sewed on. They were mournful-looking objects then, I assure

I cannot describe all the servants, odd as they were, nor give you any
idea of their way of talking--Creole, Danish, and broken English--but
I must mention our butler, or "houseman," Christian Utendahl, the most
important member of the household in his own opinion.

As soon as the party was decided on, Christian and Nana were called in
to be consulted. Then it was discovered what a tiresome undertaking a
child's party might be. All children under the care of Nanas must have
those Nanas specially invited, and a particular kind of punch must be
made for them; then champagne must be provided for the little ones to
drink toasts.

"Oh, this will never do. I cannot think of such a thing," said mamma.

"I must advise you so to do, Madame," answered Christian. "Nana's punch
is lemonade wid leetle bit claret in it; and when you see de glasses
I'll permide fer de champagne you'll see fer you'sef dey can't hole a
timmle full. Fer de credit of de family, Madame, fer fear folks'll say
'Americains don't know how to behave,' I must adwise you."

The last sentence was a powerful argument, and the solemn negro used it
with effect.

Here Nana interposed, saying, "My lady, how you expec my leetle man to
know how to conduct hes-sef less we begin wid his manners jes now?"
Then she added that she could not appear without a new gown, apron and
head-handkerchief, and the apron _ought_ to have Mexicain drawn-work a
finger "deep at de bottom of it to be credi-tabble."

Next, Nana said the birthday cake _must_ be made by Dandy and covered
with as many "sugar babies" as there were guests.

These babies were pure sugar figures on straws and were stuck into the
cake through the icing.

"The 'Kranse Kage' and the 'Krone Kage' can be made at home by Ellen
and Sophie, Miss Lind and Mrs. Harrigen," said Christian.

"Is a 'Kranse Kage' absolutely necessary?" asked mamma. "It will keep
the women pounding almonds a whole day and it is very unwholesome."

"Of course it is necessary," said both advisers together, and "it would
bring de chile bad luck to have it made out of de house," said Nana.

"Then we will have it and dispense with the 'Krone Kage.'"

"Not have a 'Krone Kage'! Oh, we must have dat out of compliment to de
King, Madame."

Here mamma gave up in despair and let the rulers of the household have
their way without further resistance.

Christian delivered the invitations to the party in his most formal
manner. The Hingleberg boys, Emile Haagensen, Alma Pretorius, Ingeborg
Hjerm, Nita Gomez, Achille Anduze, and several other boys and girls
accepted promptly.

During the next few days there was so much excitement in the household,
so much disagreement between Christian and Nana, and Tom was so
vociferous, mamma said nothing would ever induce her to give a party
for children again.

In Tom's good moments you would be sure to see him standing with his
hands behind him, while Nana trained him in what he should say and do.
"Sissy," he whispered to me, "Nana says if I ain't very, very dood
she'll gie me a _fatoi_ before evelly body."

(We never knew what this mysterious punishment was, and now we think
it must be Creole for something that never happens. We were often
threatened with it and as often escaped it.)

At last the day came, and Tom was to be allowed to haul up the flag
that morning. (We always kept the American flag floating over our
house.) When the Danish soldiers fired the sunrise cannon from the
fort, Tom pulled on the ropes with all his strength, his dear little
face as red as it could be, and when the flag reached the top of the
tall staff he gave a long sigh of satisfaction.

We were not to see the parlors till just before the guests were to
come, about twelve o'clock. When we did go in we screamed with delight.
The rooms were filled with flowers. The pillars were hidden by long
ferns and the Mexican vine which has long wreaths of tiny pink flowers,
such as you may have seen in the dress caps of babies. Tall vases of
pink and white oleander filled the alcove, and everywhere were white
carnations, jasmine, frangipanni, and doodle-doo blossoms. All this had
been done by the servants as a surprise.

In the middle of the room was the table. The gorgeous birthday cake,
bristling with knights, ladies, angels and all kinds of figures, was in
the centre, and the Kranse Kage and Krone Kage were at either end of
it; in the former a small silk American flag, in the latter a Danish
one, were placed; between them were all sorts of good things, just
such as you have at your parties. At each plate was the queerest wee
glass imaginable.

Tom received many presents. One of them, a gun with a bayonet, gave
almost too much bliss. He sat and hugged it, evidently thinking it was
"the party."

Christian, dressed in white, met every one at the street gate. To the
guests he said, "Mr. and Mrs. Alger presents deir complements and are
glad to see you;" and to the Nanas he said politely, "How you so far
dis mawning?"

To get to our house, one had to mount three or four steps from the
street, then there was a high iron fence and gate. On each side of
this were the only trees I ever disliked. We called them the "Boiled
Huckleberry Pudding" trees. They had large poisonous-looking leaves,
and bore pale lumpish fruit about as large as a quart measure, with
small black seeds here and there through them. There were no other
trees like them on the island and we had a tradition that they came
from Otaheite and would kill any one instantly who tasted the fruit.
There were beautiful trees and flowers on this terrace and on all;
then came a wall covered with vines, and fifteen stone steps leading
to another terrace and another wall. In this second wall, near the
pepper-tree, was the home of our two monkeys Jack and Jill. On the
third terrace was the house.

Tom received his friends nicely, Nana standing just behind him dressed
in her new gown and beautiful apron. We could see she was very anxious
lest he should disgrace her before the other Nanas. Often we heard her
whisper "Say howdy wid de odder hand, My Heart," or "Mind what I tole
you, Son." She escorted the Nanas to the court, where the bowl of punch
was standing, and they drank Tom's health with many good wishes.

As soon as all the children had arrived they were seated at table, each
Nana standing behind her charge. Daintily and prettily the little ones
ate, and when Christian passed the cake around the "sugar babies" were
drawn out with much ceremony. Then the other large cakes were cut and
served and Christian put a drop of champagne in each little glass. As
soon as this was done, quick as thought Carl Hingleberg stood up and

"_Lienge leve Kongen!_"

Would you believe it? Every little tot lifted his or her glass and
drank this solemnly. Christian filled the glasses again and we saw Bebé
Anduze was being nudged and pushed by her Nana; at last she put her
finger in her mouth and hung her head but said very sweetly, "I wiss
Tom Alger have many nice birfdays and be a dood boy!"

How we all laughed! And how surprised we were when Tom bowed and said,
"Tak," but he spoiled it all by pounding on the table and shouting
"Hurrah for Grant!"

When all had done, Nana lifted Tom down from his chair and turned him
to the right. Each child he took by the hand and said, "_Velbekomme_;"
and the answer given to him was "_Fak for mad_." Then Tom scampered
off, and came back with his gun and singing with all his might "_Den
tapre land soldat_;" and where he did not know the Danish words, he
sang "Good Night, my brudder Ben!" which Nana proudly explained "he
composed hes-sef." All the children joined in the chorus and were
pleased at his singing something they all knew.

Now came the great event of the day. We went down to the wharf, where
papa had boats ready to take us off to the American man-of-war in the
harbor. We were kindly taken all over it and Tom was allowed to fire
off a large cannon. This consoled him for the loss of his bayonet,
which fell overboard on our way to the ship, by mamma's special request.

We had a delightful afternoon, and, when we returned home, Tom shook
hands with all and said,

    "Farvel Kom igjen."

    NOTE.--_Kranse Kage_, Wreath Cake; _Krone Kage_, Crown
    Cake; _Tak_, Thanks; _Den tapre land soldat_, The brave
    land soldier; _Velbekomme_, Welcome; _Fak for mad_,
    Thanks for bread, or the food; _Lienge leve Kongen_,
    Long live the King; _Farvel Kom igjen_, Farewell, come



ALL the little Siamese children, both boys and girls, have the entire
head, except a place on the very top, closely shaved. There a long lock
of hair is allowed to grow, and this they wear twisted into a knot and
fastened with a jeweled pin.

The cutting of this top-knot, as it is called, is an occasion of great
ceremony. All the friends and relatives are invited to attend, and the
festivities continue three days. On the third day the hair is cut by
a priest, and a lock is preserved in the family. The cutting of the
top-knot is equivalent to our coming of age, though the children are
generally between eleven and fourteen, and sometimes even younger than

The hair-cutting of the King's eldest daughter, Princess Civili, was
a most magnificent affair. We went to the palace at ten in the morning
for the purpose of seeing the procession. After passing through the
outer and inner courts which were thronged with people of almost
every Eastern nationality, we were shown into a building reserved for
Europeans. Soon we heard the band playing the National Anthem, and
then, preceded by the royal body-guard, His Majesty appeared and took
his seat near the private entrance to the Temple. Then the procession
commenced to file past us. It was headed by a number of men with
hatchets, and attired in odd-looking garments. Some of these men wore
horrible masks and wigs of long, tangled hair. They looked much like
apes, and represented wild men. Next followed two rows of "angels" as
they are called, these being men dressed in long loose robes of thin
white muslin bordered with gold-embroidered bands. On their heads were
tall conical hats of white and gold. These "angels" carried a cord
which was attached to the Princess' chair. Between these two rows
of angels walked a dozen men in loose red jackets, and short red
trousers, with flat caps to match. They held in their hands long reed
instruments on which they blew, making a shrill, strange sound.

This was the signal of the approach of the Princess who soon appeared,
carried in a high chair, and surrounded by nobles and relatives. She
sat as immovable as an image, and looked neither to the right nor the
left. With a little more expression, she would have been a very pretty

Behind Her Royal Highness' chair were her favorite slaves carrying all
the beautiful presents that had been given her.

_Apropos_ of presents, here is a short account of one of them. The
United States ship _Ashuelot_ was at that time anchored in the river
Chow Phya Miniam, on which river Bangkok is situated. There is a custom
in Siam of giving a present in return for one received, though the
present given in return is always one of less value. The paymaster of
the _Ashuelot_, hearing of this custom, presented Her Royal Highness
with a diamond ring, and received in return a handsome gold betel-box
of native workmanship. The captain of the _Ashuelot_ who was much
annoyed that a subordinate should receive so handsome a gift while he
himself received nothing, had the paymaster court-martialed on the
ground that an officer in the United States employ had no right to
receive a gift from a foreign nation.

But to return to the procession. Following the slaves, came a number
of little Siamese girls dressed in white, and wearing a profusion of
jewelry. After them, came girls from the provinces all decked in their
gayest attire; then two rows of little Chinese girls with painted
cheeks and lips, and having artificial flowers in their hair. Closely
following came rows upon rows of native women (slaves of the Princess)
who walked sedately on with their bright fluttering scarves of red,
yellow and green, their hands folded as if in prayer.

Then came a great many little native boys; after these, Chinese boys,
and, finally the procession was ended by a company of Hindoostani
children followed by a detachment of men servants.

The next two days the procession was exactly the same, except that on
the third day the "angels" and the little Siamese girls wore pink
robes instead of white.

The cutting of the hair, the praying of the priests, and the bathing of
the Princess in various waters, all took place in a large artificial
mountain built for the occasion opposite the Temple. None but the King,
the ex-Regent and a few other favored individuals were allowed to be

On the green, in front of the mountain, we saw a large company of
actors. On inquiry we found they were members of His Majesty's _loken_
or theatre, and formed part of the religious ceremony.

After the cutting of the top-knot all Siamese girls of high rank are
kept in the greatest seclusion. Some are sent into the palace and
placed under His Majesty's protection. There they remain until married
or until Death claims them.



    Hoaky is brought
    Home with hallowin'
    Boys with plumb cake,
    The cart followin'.
             --_From Poore Robin_, 1676.

IN one of the fine old Homes of England, the tapestry lining the
Withdrawing Room represents a scene which must have been very familiar
to the ladies whose diligent fingers accomplished this large piece of
handiwork. It is a "Harvest Home" of more than a hundred years ago; and
as the light from the huge logs burning on the hearth flickers on the
figures it almost seems as if the gayly decorated horses are drawing
on the cart laden with sheaves, as if the girl enthroned on the top of
the corn is waving the small sheaf she holds overhead, and as if the
harvesters are really dancing around; that in another moment the lad
riding the leader must sound his pipe, and the old man following the
dancers make a merry tune come out of his fiddle-strings. The Harvest
is over, and the "last neck" is being carried home in triumph, held
on high by the Queen of the Harvest, until it can be deposited in the
centre of the supper-table in the big farmhouse kitchen.

This tapestry hangs in a house in Cornwall, a county in which, from its
remote southerly position, many traditions have lingered. Among such
traditions those connected with the harvest are probably some of the
most ancient; handed down from generation to generation from the days
when the Romans first brought civilization to England and left their
stamp on the harvest as well as on the language, laws, numerals and the
roads of this county.

Until the beginning of this century, Ceres was the name given as a
matter of course to the queen of the harvest; and in Bedfordshire two
figures made of straw were formerly carried in the harvest procession,
which the laborers called Jack and Jill, but which were supposed to
represent Apollo, the Sun God, and the beneficent Ceres, to whom the
Romans made their offerings before reaping began.

The merry queen of the harvest, worked in the tapestry, had no doubt
been chosen after the usual Cornish fashion. The women reaped in
Cornwall, while the men bound, and whoever reaped the last lock of corn
was proclaimed queen. As all were ambitious of this honor, the women
used to hide away an unreaped lock under a sheaf, and when all the
field seemed cut they would run off to their hidden treasures, in hopes
of being the lucky last. When a girl's sweetheart came into the field
at the end of the day, he would try to take her sickle away to finish
her work. If this was allowed, it was a sign that she also consented to
the wedding taking place before the next harvest.

The last lock of corn being cut, it was bound with straw at the
neck, just under the ears, and carried to the highest part of the
field, where one of the men swung it round over his head, crying in a
stentorian voice, "I have it, I have it, I have it!" And the next man
answered, "What hav-ee, what hav-ee, what hav-ee?" Then the first man
shouted again, "A neck, a neck, a neck, hurrah!" This was the signal
for the queen to mount the "hoaky cart," as it was called, and the
procession started for the farmhouse.

Over the borders in Devonshire, the custom of "crying the neck" varied
a little. The men did the reaping and the women the binding. As the
evening closed in, the oldest man present collected a bunch of the
finest ears of corn and, plaiting them together, placed himself in the
middle of a circle of reapers and binders. Then he stooped and held it
near the ground, while all the men took off their hats and held them
also near the ground, and as they rose slowly they sung in a prolonged
harmonious tone, "A neck, a neck, a neck!" until their hats were high
over their heads. This was repeated three times; after which the words
changed to "We have-'en, we have-'en, we have-'en!" sung to the same
monotonous cadence. The crying of the neck, as it echoed from field to
field, and from hill to hill, on a fine evening, produced a beautiful
effect, and might be heard at a great distance.

A musical cry of this sort was also common in Norfolk, Suffolk and
Gloucestershire; but the words sung were "Hallo, largess!" One of
the men was chosen lord of the evening and appointed to approach
any lookers-on with respect, and ask a largess, or money, which was
afterwards spent in drink. Meanwhile the other men stood round with
their hooks pointed to the sky, singing:

[Illustration: Music]


In Gloucestershire, Ceres rode the leader of the Hoaky Cart, dressed in
white, with a yellow ribbon round her waist.

    The last in-gathering of the crop,
    Is loaded and they climb the top;
    And then huzza with all their force,
    While Ceres mounts the foremost horse.
    "Gee-up," the rustic goddess cries,
    And shouts more long and loud arise,
    The swagging cart, with motion slow,
    Reels careless on, and off they go.

Stevenson in his _Twelve Moneths_, date 1661, goes on to describe the
arrival of the procession at the farmhouse:

    The frumenty pot welcomes home the harvest cart, and
    the garland of flowers crowns the Captain of the
    reapers. The battle of the field is now stoutly fought.
    The pipe and tabor are now briskly set to work, and the
    lad and lass will have no lead on their heels. O! 'tis
    the merry time when honest neighbours make good cheer,
    and God is glorified in His blessings on the earth.

In Herefordshire "crying the neck" is called "crying the maze;" the
maze being a knot of ears of corn tied together, and the reapers stood
at some distance, and threw their sickles at it. The man who succeeded
in cutting the knot won a prize and was made Harvest King for that
year. In the same county there was a rough custom of the last load
being driven home by the farmer himself at a furious rate, while the
laborers chased the wagon with bowls of water which they tried to throw
over it. In the more stately processions the horses that drew the Hoaky
cart were draped with white, which Herrick, the Devonshire parson-poet,
describes in his poem of Hesperides, 1646:

    Come, sons of summer, by whose toil
    We are the lords of wine and oil;
    By whose tough labours and rough hands
    We rip up first, then reap our lands.
    Crowned with the ears of corn now come
    And to the pipe ring Harvest Home.
    Come forth, my lord, and see the cart
    Dressed up with all the country art.
    See here a maukin, there a sheet
    As spotless pure as it is sweet;
    The horses, mares, and frisking fillies
    (Clad all in linen, white as lilies:)
    The harvest swains and wenches bound
    For joy to see the hock-cart crown'd.
    About the cart hear how the rout
    Of rural younglings raise the shout;
    Pressing before, some coming after--
    Those with a shout, and these with laughter.
    Well, on, brave boys, to your lord's hearth
    Glittering with fire, where for your mirth
    You shall see, first, the large and chief
    Foundation of your feast, fat beef;
    With upper stories, mutton, veal,
    And bacon (which makes full the meal;)
    With sev'ral dishes standing by,
    And here a custard, there a pie,
    And here all tempting frumenty.

The harvest supper in Northumberland was called the "Kern Supper,"
from a large figure dressed and crowned with flowers, holding a sickle
and sheaf, which was named the "Kern Baby," and, being carried by the
harvesters on a high pole with singing and shouting, was placed in the
centre of the supper table, like the Devonshire and Cornish Neck. Rich
cream was served on bread at the Kern Supper, instead of meal; a custom
which was reversed in a sister northern county, where the new meal was
thought more of than cream, and the feast was called the "Neck Supper,"
in its honor.

There was one more quaint ceremony for the laborers to accomplish,
after the feasting was over, connected with the completion of the
rick or stack. This was formed in the shape of a house with a sloping
roof, and as the man placed the last sheaf in the point of the gable
he shouted, "He's in, he's in, he's in!" The laborers below in the
stackyard, then sang out, "What's in?" and the rickmaker answered with
a long harmonious sound, "The cro' sheaf," meaning the cross sheaf.

It has been thought that there used to be one universal harvest song
used throughout England, but the words and music are not preserved as
such. Some curious songs are performed by the laborers, where harvest
suppers are kept up. A very popular one has a chorus ending with:

    And neither Kings, Lords, nor Dukes
    Can do without the husbandman.

The majority are drinking songs, and there is reason to fear that the
ale and cider that flowed at harvest-time, conduced in no small degree
towards the unbounded revelry of these old celebrations.

At the same time the country people of England in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries were for the most part very simple and ignorant,
and their childish exuberance of spirits may have been but the natural
expression of life in a perfectly unartificial state. They were men and
women who could live for the hour while the sun shone, who could laugh
and dance like children who have no fear, and, as George Eliot says,
who "cared not for inquiring into the senses of things, being satisfied
with the things themselves."

But the change was coming. The old women of Cornwall lamented loudly
when their sickles were taken away, and the corn was "round-hewed" by
the men with a kind of rounded saw.

"There was nothing about it in the Bible," they said; "it was all
_reaping_ there."

The round-hewing was but a step, to be speedily followed by the scythe,
and then by the steam reaper. And it often happens that the steam
engines do not leave the field until the corn is carried to a temporary
rick in the corner and threshed on the spot.

Farewell to the Hoaky Cart, the crowns of flowers, the Kern Baby, and
the Cro' Sheaf!

With the puffing snort, the whirr and smoke of the engine, came the
downfall of the ancient ceremonies. If the corn is threshed in the
field and carried away in sacks, there is no time for the triumph of
Ceres, or the decking of "Necks."

The laborers are no longer "satisfied with the things themselves." They
are keen for the shilling they will earn for overhour work, and in
some counties prefer it to the gathering of master and men round the
harvest board; and the drink makes them envious instead of merry.

Times are hard. The great iron rakes clear the fields and there are
some farmers who no longer say with Boaz:

    Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her
    not, and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose
    for her, and leave them that she may glean them, and
    rebuke her not.

It seems as though the old happy gleaning days were also numbered.
Those days to which the villagers look forward from one year's end to
another! The hour at which gleaning may begin is made known in some
parishes by the church bell tolling at eight o'clock, after which the
children troop off with their mothers to the wide fields. The sun may
shine with fierce August fervor, the children's arms and the mothers'
backs be weary to breaking, and the corn gathered be only enough for
two half-peck loaves--yet there are charms in the long days in the
fields, in the strawberries picked in the hedge, and the potato pasties
eaten under the rick, and when the church bell tolls again at nine
o'clock there are still many lingerers in the fields.

The world is growing grave and old, and it is sad to think that many
of the simple old-fashioned enjoyments of past years are fading away.
Still there is another side to the inevitable law of change; for out
of the relics of the worship of Ceres, out of the ashes of the ancient
customs of revelry, a phœnix has arisen, grand and hope-inspiring,
and that carries back our memories to days before the Romans were
conquerors of the world, and when the most ancient of all nations, the
Jews, used to celebrate their yearly feast of Ingathering.

When first Harvest Festivals in Churches were proposed they were looked
on with suspicion, for somewhat similar services had been swept away
by the iron hand of the Reformation. But thankful hearts and good
common-sense have worn out the suspicion, and the day comes now in each
year, when every Church in England is decked with sheaves of corn,
grapes, torch lilies, dahlias, sunflowers, and all the splendors of
autumn, and when glorious Te Deums, and hearty Harvest Hymns rise in
thanksgiving for the blessings on the fields.

Once more the ancient cry of "Largess" is, as it were, revived. But
now it is largess for the poor, beloved by God, it is largess for the
suffering ones, who watch in pain, it is largess for home and foreign
missions, that all may be safely gathered in to the great final Harvest.

It is also customary for a Festival to be held in the Cathedrals of the
principal county towns. And there are few nobler sights than to see the
Nave of one of these magnificent old buildings, on a market day, so
full of men and women of every position in life, that they are sitting
on the bases of the pillars, and standing in the aisles; and there are
few nobler sounds than to hear that mighty congregation burst into

    Come, ye thankful people, come!
    Raise the song of Harvest Home!



AT no time is there more to be seen and done in Jerusalem than during
the Easter season.

Then it is that the old city is crowded with pilgrims from far and near
and wears, in consequence, an appearance of varied life and activity.
Some of the pilgrims are Moslems returning from their journey to Mecca;
others are Jews who have come to see that the massive stones of the old
temple are being duly wailed over by their brethren; but by far the
greater number are adherents of the Eastern Church.

Their purpose in making the pilgrimage is to anoint themselves with the
fire which, according to their belief, is sent down from heaven each
year at Easter-time to light the candles on the altar in the tomb of
our Saviour in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Can they but ignite
their little bundles of wax tapers by the holy flame and with it bathe
their faces and breasts they believe that all their sin-stains are
purged away. The great crowds of devotees become so wrought up with
excitement over this divine manifestation that it is safer for those
who would witness the ceremony to go to the church under consular

Accordingly we assembled, about eleven o'clock on the morning of one
Easter Sunday, at the American Consulate and from thence proceeded,
with a number of fellow-countrymen, to the Church under the guidance
of the _cawass_, or consular servant, whose heavy staff of office--a
veritable drum-major's bâton--inspired respect on the part of the
natives and opened a way for us through the dense crowds.

Arriving at the Church we were led to one of the galleries which run
around the building in three tiers. The main portion of the structure
is circular in form, and in the centre of the rotunda is a small chapel
which, according to the tradition of the Greek Church, guards within
its walls the Sepulchre of our Lord. The entrance to this little
building is so lowly that one has almost to crawl on hands and knees
to gain admittance; and when once inside there is only a shabby altar
worn down by the lips of countless thousands of pilgrims, and shabbier
candles which make the atmosphere most disagreeable.

From our vantage-point in the gallery we looked down upon a curious
scene. Men, women and children armed with little bundles of tapers
covered every foot of the spacious floor, save an aisle which a double
line of some two hundred Turkish soldiers kept open around the Holy
Sepulchre as best they could. The officers of the guard had difficult
work in preserving order. Serious outbreaks were of frequent occurrence
among the excited people which could only be quelled by a vigorous
application of the officers' rawhides to the backs of the ringleaders,
and, in some instances, a gentle prod from a soldier's bayonet was
necessary to remind the individual that he was forgetting his good

The space between the inner line of soldiery and the Sepulchre seemed
to constitute a sort of prison-pen, for here were thrust the most
turbulent spirits. In a short time an assortment of these leading
rascals was thus gathered together and, as might have been expected,
they soon began to make things lively among themselves; the result
being a vivid representation of pandemonium. In fact, rough-and-tumble
fights were now the order of exercises, for all were endeavoring to
elbow their way to a position nearer the chapel that they might be the
first to secure the coveted fire. Such was the conduct of the adherents
to the Greek Faith in their holiest sanctuary and at their holiest

After waiting for nearly three hours, surveying the hubbub below us
which had been, if possible, increasing, we noticed an unusual stir;
and soon from one of the ante-rooms issued a procession made up of
priests bearing large banners of various hues, and numerous surpliced
boys swinging silver censers of incense, while in the centre of this
company walked the Patriarch of the church clad in robes of heavy silk
and satin richly embroidered with gold and silver thread as befitted
the dignity of the High Father.

Three times this band moved round the Sepulchre while the crowds were
awed to silence by the magnificent spectacle. After the procession
passed out the pent-up excitement of the people broke out with renewed
energy and those in the rear redoubled their efforts to gain a front
place, for this pageant of priests seemed to herald the advent of the

Soon two of the priests approached apertures in opposite walls of the
Chapel and through these received from the Patriarch, who had meanwhile
entered the Sepulchre alone, the heaven-sent flame. As the priests drew
forth handfuls of tapers ignited by the holy fire, the agitation of
the multitude knew no bounds. The great surging crowd seemed frenzied
in their eagerness to light their own tapers. The women and children
in the throng were entirely ignored and, as the stronger pushed them
aside, more than one went down and were trampled under feet. But
gradually now the divine flame was passed from one to another, those
in the galleries letting down their tapers to be lighted until the
whole church was soon ablaze.

Strife and wrangling speedily gave way now to smiling good-nature,
and all were anointing their faces and breasts with the holy fire.
The dark recesses of the old building, which the sunlight could never
penetrate through the dingy dome, were lighted up with the flickering
glow of the little candles which, with the constant darting to and fro
at the flames, like so many will-o'-the-wisps, made up a weird picture
never to be forgotten. Soon, however, the smoke and heat rendered the
atmosphere intolerable and we were glad to elbow our way out through
the now happy throng to the open air.

Such is the ceremony gone through with each year at Jerusalem. Many
of the people try to carry the fire away with them that they may keep
a candle which has been lighted with it continually burning, as it is
reputed to possess wonderful restorative properties both for body and



I ONCE attended an interesting Indian fête in the Southwest at the
Moqui (Moki) village in Northern Arizona. It was the strangest
spectacle altogether I ever looked upon, and was performed by Indians
who are perhaps the least civilized of any in the great Western
Territory. No words can fully describe the dance that was given. It was
a wild, weird sight and made one with delicate nerves uncomfortable, to
say the least. To the Moquis, however, the spectacle was the reverse of
unpleasant. An Indian never indulges in noisy approval, but he enjoys
laughing as much as a white man does; and in this particular dance the
performers were constantly encouraged by their friends.

The Moquis are a people whose origin dates far back. How long ago
their present village was built no one can tell. That it is very old
is evident from the fact that in 1540 it looked exactly the same to
Coronado as it does to us to-day. He could not discover from the
Indians living there how long their town had been founded, and as the
people have no written history we can only speculate upon the age of
their houses. There are seven villages altogether and all of them are
built upon the very tops of high _mesas_, or table-lands, rising fully
six hundred feet above the level of a wide valley. The _mesas_ are
rarely more than forty feet wide and are so steep that to gain the
summit one has to climb a narrow footpath that has been hewn in the
rocky sides. The houses are of stone, cemented with mud, and are piled
together one on top of the other.

The tribe is given a Reservation by the Government to live on nearly
as large as the State of Massachusetts, and on which they have perfect
freedom. They raise sheep and goats, and live and dress nearly as they
did centuries ago, and have but little intercourse with white people.

An hour before sunset the Indians, robed in their very best, moved
toward the town of Walpi that occupies the western end of the _mesa_.
Following the crowd my friend C---- and I reached an open square formed
by the walls of the houses on one side and the edge of the _mesa_ on
the other. In the centre of the place stood a tall, tower-like stone
fifteen or twenty feet high and of a fantastic shape. It was here that
the dance was to be held. Every housetop having a view of the spot
was covered with Indians, and children had grouped themselves on the
ladders that lead from roof to roof. Making our way to a good place we
sat down with a party of the natives and waited for the fête to begin.
Far below where we were, lay the valley we had crossed, and in the
distance were the mountains of Utah and Central Arizona. It did not
require much imagination to believe ourselves standing on some high
cliff overlooking the ocean, for the valley was like the sea, and the
feeding sheep like little boats.

This Moqui snake-dance is given once in every two years. Nearly one
hundred Indians take part in it and the custom has been observed for
many centuries. It is commonly supposed that the ceremony is a prayer
for rain, but why snakes are used no one surely knows. The reptiles are
caught during the four days preceding the dance and are confined in the
_estufas_ or council chambers until the hour comes when they are to be
used. Most of the snakes are "rattlers." Their fangs are not removed
and the only precaution the Indians take against being bitten is to
paint their bodies with a preparation that counteracts the effects of
the poison. At the conclusion of the dance the snakes are carried down
to the valley and allowed to go where they will, while the dancers
return to the _estufas_ and wash off the paint that has covered their

Directly beneath where we stood was a bower made of cotton-wood
branches. Soon after we were seated an Indian brought three large bags
and placed them within the bower. These contained the snakes. The man
had barely got out of sight before a party of fifteen Indians filed
rapidly into the square. All were naked except for short, reddish
tunics reaching from the waist to the knees, and their bodies and faces
were thickly painted in various hues. Each man carried a rattle, made
by stretching a piece of dried skin over a squash gourd, and a basket
of sacred meal, and several wore strings of antelope hoofs around their
ankles. Marching four times around the stone pillar, and shaking their
rattles all the while, the dancers stamped upon the ground as they
passed the snake bower and sprinkled meal upon it. After that they
formed a long line and began the rather monotonous dance and song which
is given in the same manner by nearly every tribe. The song consists of
a few words repeated in a sing-song fashion over and over again, and
in the dance the bodies are swayed slowly back and forth and the feet
alternately lifted a few inches from the ground.

While this dance was being given a second party, dressed as those who
had first appeared, and numbering fifty-seven men, marched into view
and began their walk around the stone. These were the snake-dancers,
and their coming was hailed with great joy by the assembled
spectators. Instead of rattles were carried little wands made of
eagle feathers which were moved rapidly through the air in imitation
of the hissing of serpents. The men looked wild and sober, as though
frightened at the prospect before them, and their faces were blackened
and painted beyond all recognition. During the march around the stone
pillar a party of maidens, each one wearing a bright red shawl and
having her face thickly powdered, grouped themselves near the dancers
and stood ready to sprinkle them with the meal which they carried in

Finishing the march both parties formed into two parallel lines near
the bower of cotton-wood boughs and indulged in a grand song and dance
which appeared to carry not only the performers but the dancers to
the highest pitch of excitement. At its conclusion an old man stepped
before the snakes and chanted a prayer, which he had barely finished
before there was an unruly rush made for the bower. Reaching their
hands into the place each man quickly reappeared with a hissing,
squirming, biting snake, which he immediately placed between his teeth
while beginning once more his walk around the open square. In time
fully forty men had each his snake, and the scene became intensely
hideous. At the side of each dancer walked an attendant who tickled
the snake's head with his wand of eagle feathers, but in spite of this
soothing caress the serpents made savage attempts to bite and get away.
One man had his cheek severely bitten and another his hand, while often
a snake would coil its body around the neck of its tormentor so that
it would have to be unwound by main force. We were glad to be as high
above the dancers as we were, for at times a snake would escape and go
darting off among the spectators, to their great confusion. The girls
who were throwing sacred meal upon the men were often so frightened
that they made frantic rushes to get away, but when the snake had been
caught, they returned again to their places. For fully half an hour
the strange dance was continued, the men holding the snakes growing
more excited every moment, and the members of the first party that had
appeared giving new life to their song, which was continued without
interruption all the while.

At last, perspiring, bitten, excited until their eyes gleamed, the
men threw the snakes together into a common pile in the centre of the
square, where they formed a hideous mound of squirming forms. Then at
a signal, a second scramble took place, and in a moment the pile had
disappeared and every dancer held in his hands a reptile with which he
ran swiftly down the trail and out into the valley, madly leaping down
the narrow path, and later hurrying over the valley, dropping as they
ran, the snakes they carried.

By this time the sun had set. Waiting only long enough to watch the men
come slowly back to their _estufas_, we left our housetop and were soon
riding slowly away. For another two years the snakes in the vicinity
of the Moqui village will go unmolested along their way. At the end of
that time some of them probably will figure again in the dance which
some strange decree has ordered.

_Classified List.--Pansy._


There are substantial reasons for the great popularity of the "Pansy
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The genuineness of the types of character which they portray is indeed

"Her stories move alternately to laughter and tears." ... "Brimful of
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These are a few quotations from words of praise everywhere spoken. The
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_Each volume 12mo, $1.50._

    Chautauqua Girls at Home.
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    Echoing and Re-echoing.
    Endless Chain (An).
    Ester Ried.
    Ester Ried Yet Speaking.
    Four Girls at Chautauqua.
    From different Standpoints.
    Hall in the Grove (The).
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    King's Daughter (The).
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    New Graft on the Family Tree (A).
    One Commonplace Day.
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    Wise and Otherwise.

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An explanation of the constitution and government of the United States,
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A concise, systematic, and complete study of the great principles,
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    =IN LEISLER'S TIMES.= A story-study of Knickerbocker
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Though designedly for young folks' reading, this volume is a very
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To improve as well as to amuse young people is the object of
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One of the brightest, breeziest books for girls ever written; as sweet
and wholesome as the breath of clover on a clear June morning, and as
full of life and inspiration as a trumpet call. The writer, a popular
teacher, speaks of what she knows, and has put her own magnetism into
these little plain, sensible, earnest talks, and the girls will read
them and be thrilled by them as by a personal presence.


In this bright little story, we see what may be really done in the way
of self-support by young women of sturdy independence and courage, with
no false pride to deter them from taking up the homely work which they
are capable of doing. It will give an incentive to many a baffled,
discouraged girl who has failed from trying to work in the old ruts.


Four merry schoolgirls during vacation time are inducted into the
mysteries of chamber-work, cooking, washing, ironing, putting up
preserves and cutting and making underclothes, all under the careful
supervision of one of the mothers. The whole thing is made attractive
for them in a way that is simply captivating, and the story of their
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    =A GIRL'S ROOM.= With plans and designs for work
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This dainty volume not only shows girls how to make their rooms cosey
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    =CHRISTIE'S CHRISTMAS.= By PANSY. 12mo, fully
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Christie is one of those delightfully life-like, naïve and interesting
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Articles on household matters, written in a clear, fascinating style
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Here are deeds of stirring adventure and peril, and quiet heroism no
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    =NEW EVERY MORNING: Selections of Readings for Girls.=
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This is just such a book as one would expect from the popular author
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    CROWNINSHIELD, wife of Commander Crowninshield. Finely
    illustrated from photographs and original drawings.
    Extra cloth, quarto, $2.50.

An attractive book for boys, giving the account of an actual trip along
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    Library. 16mo, illustrated, cloth, $1.00.

Twelve chapters containing the story told in Dr. Hale's characteristic
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"A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck."--_President Garfield._
Spirited narratives of boys who have conquered obstacles and become
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Just the book for boys taking their first lesson in the use of tools.
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    12mo, illustrated, $1.50.

If there is anything in the way of human attire which more than any
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This is the best of the recent books of this popular class of
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       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Table of Contents: "Pgae" changed to "Page".

Page 13, "chere" changed to "chère" (chère Madame)

Page 59, "levè" changed to "lève" (Non, je me lève)

Page 59, "m' habille" changed to "m'habille" (Non, je m'habille)

Page 60, "couturíeres" changed to "couturières" (Les couturières font

Page 62, "cháteau" changed to "château" (est dans son château)

Page 63, "goûtir" changed to "goûter" (their _goûter_ of a)

Page 129, "pntting" changed to "putting" (putting up preserves)

Page 129, "apprporiate" changed to "appropriate" (choice and

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