Imágenes de páginas

and the warehouse or barn in which the sugar undergoes the process of claying; and to the view of these buildings may be added the pens for the cattle, the carts, heaps of timber, and a small pond through which the water runs to the mill. At the back of the house was the large open field, the mill dam beyond, and cottages, mandioc lands and trees along the valley, bordered on each side by steep hills covered with thick woods.

Oftentimes I have sat at night upon the threshold of the door, after all my people had retired to their habitations; they have supposed that I was asleep; then I have heard the whisperings in the negro huts, and have observed some one leave his house, and steal away to visit an acquaintance, residing at some distance; or there has been some feast or merry-making, thus late at night, thus concealed. Neighbouring negroes have been invited, and have crept in during the evening unperceived. It is on these occasions that plans for deceiving the master are contrived; in these sweet unpermitted meetings, the schemes are formed. Then the slave owner who is aware of such secret practices, and reflects, must feel of how little avail are all his regulations, all his good management. Restraint creates the wish to act contrary to given rules. The slave has a natural bias to deceive him who holds him in subjection. A man may love the master. whom he may at pleasure leave; but to be tied down, and as a duty enjoined to esteem, fails not in most instances to rouse contrary feelings, to awaken a sense of pleasure rather than of pain, in counteracting the wishes, and in rendering nugatory the determinations of him who commands.

At other times far different ideas from these have occupied my mind; I have thought of the strange life I was leading; a remembrance of feudal times in Europe has crossed me, and I could not forbear comparing with them the present state of the interior of Brazil. The great power of the planter, not only over his slaves, but his authority over the free persons of lower rank; the respect which is required by these Barons from the free inhabitants of their lands* ; the assistance which they expect from their tenants in case of insult from a neighbouring equal; the dependance of the peasants, and their wish to be under the peculiar protection of a person of wealth who is capable of relieving them from any oppression, and of speaking in their behalf to the


•* On Saturdays only, throughout the courtry, are cattle slaughtered ; and thus weekly many persons of each neighbourhood assemble, as much to converse and hear the news as to purchase their portion of meat. On one of these occasions, a young man of colour was stooping to arrange upon the end of his walking-stick the meat which he had bought, at the moment that a person of considerable power was riding up. The man of importance, when he came near to the young mulatto, struck him with a long cane with which he rode, saying " Why don't you take off your hat when a white man appears ?” The blow was felt severely, and still more severely answered. The man of colour drew his knife, and quickly turning round, ran it hilt deep into the groin of him by whom he had been insulted; and then with the bloody knite in his hand, he ran off

, vowing destruction upon any one who touched him. The rich man had only time before he died, to direct that the murderer should not be pursued, owning that his own impetuous tyranny had deservedly produced this catastrophe, The young man returned in a few weeks to his former home, and was not molested by the relatives of him whom he had murdered, nor did the law take cognizance of the deed.'



governor, or to the chief judge; all these circumstances combined, tend to render the similarity very great. I even felt the power which had 'unintentionally fallen into my hands. I had collected a considerable number of free workmen, and the estate was respected for miles round. Many of these fellows would have committed almost any crime under the impression that my protection would screen them; and if I had not turned some away, and threatened others that I would aid the law rather than evade it, should their proceedings be irregular, I know not what evil deeds might not have followed.' pp. 222-225.

Not far from Jaguaribe a new church was building to Our Lady of the 0); an appellation strange enough to be worthy of an explanatory note when Mr. Koster shall reprint his book. is derived, according to one opinion, from the marriage-ring given to the Virgin by the First Person in the Trinity. There is a sermon of Vieyra's in honour of N. Senhora do 0; he preached it in his youth, and he printed it in his old age, after an interval of four and forty years: it was approved by the censors of the press, and Jicensed by the provincial of his Order, and by the inquisition : but the man must be far gone in the school of Voltaire who could insult the decency of a British public, by following him through his explanations of the name. The probable origin of the name is sufficiently ludicrous. The feast of Our Lady under this invocation is celebrated on the 18th of December, and called the Expectation of the Virgin, being intended to commemorate the joy with which on that day she had looked forward to the Nativity. The patriarchs in linbo were at the same time expecting the birth of their deliverer with equal joy; Oh! is among the interjections of joy as well as of sorrow; and in imitation of these joyful aspirations in earth and in limbo, it was customary for every one, in the quire after the vesper prayer, to sing O 0, in what key he pleased, Cayrasco, who has written a poetical Flos Sanctorum, when he comes to this day, makes all the Virtues join hand, and form a per-. fect round O in its honour. This Lady enjoys such celebrity in Pernambuco, that when her church was to be built, the landholders contended who should have the auspicious edifice upon his ground, and the matter was determined by lot. Chance determined as ill as the most injudicious choice could have done, fixing upon the lowest piece of land in the neighbourhood, within three hundred yards of a shore upon which the sea is constantly encroaching, and precisely in the very direction where it encroaches fastest. The same lot however was drawn thrice, a fact which looks as if a little pious subornation had been practised by the owner of the land ;--a spring gushed forth when the foundations were dug, which of course possesses miraculous virtues, and salt which is not less sovereign for inward and outward maladies oozes from the wall against which the

high altar stands. The patients come from a distance of 150 leagues to seek for relief from this lady, her salt and her spring , and faith has wrought miracles enough to convince the people that those who receive no benefit must impute the fault to their own deficiency in belief or in good deeds, not to any lack of power in N. Senhora do 0. The lady gives no gratuitous assistance: they who profit by this thriving trade will not thank Mr. Koster for informing his Pernambucan readers on the authority of Professor Kidd, that salt is in like manner found upon the walls of the Ashmole Laboratory at Oxford, a place where Nossa Senhora has had nothing to do since the days of bloody Queen Mary.

The Mandingo negroes are believed by the Brazilians to excel in sorcery; they are expert jugglers; they charm snakes from their holes, and are said to possess that power of rendering other persons unsusceptible of the snake-poison which, to the disgrace of Europe, still remains a secret to European science. They are believed also to communicate a virtue to certain green beads which will render the bearer invulnerable. In the last generation there were a set of men called Valentoens, the meaning of which term may be conveyed by Bravo, or Ruffian, who wore these beads. These fellows were men of all casts, who without having heard of knight errantry, imitated in low life some of the worst parts of the chivalrous manners. They would take their stand at a cross-road, and compel all passers-by either to fight them, or to dismount and lead their horses, bare-headed, till they were out of sight. Their whole business was to seek quarrels, and keep all other? persons in awe, for which purpose they frequented festivals and fairs, and were ready to revenge others as well as themselves. They had dogs of extraordinary size and activity who were as brave as themselves, and whom they had taught to drink rum. It is some proof of improvement that there are few of these men left; but it is not above fifteen

years since one of them did credit to the gallows at Bahia. Mr. Koster had turbulent neighbours at Jaguaribe, frequent quarrels took place between the slaves, and as this sort of warfare was neither agreeable nor safe, he though it prudent to remove. Accordingly he hired a plantation in the Island of Itamaraca. This island is separated from the main land by a channel which, at its narrowest part, is about half a mile wide, in its widest, a league; it is about eight leagues north of Recife, twelve miles in length, and eight in breadth, a place of great importance in the Pernambucan war, the Dutch having at one time deliberated whether it might not be expedient to establish the seat of government there. As there was no residence for him upon the estate, Mr. Koster, who was not very scrupulous about his quarters, took up his lodgings for a time in a large stone building, which, in the better days of the settle


ment, had served for a town hall-above, and prison below, but was now almost in ruins. It stood in the square of the Town of Conception, a place which, being ill situated, would be totally deserted if the parish church did not stand there. After a while Mr. Koster obtained a cottage, and became so completely naturalized, that the honour was forced upon him, in conjunction with a neighbour, of providiug and paying for the entertainments on the ninth and last night of Our Lady of Conception's novenas. Nossa Senhora had no reason to complain of the choice: a black tailor who liked dancing and singing better than his needle was called in; musicians were obtained from the band of the Olinda regiment, and fire-works, gunpowder and the colours of several ships from Recife. The colours were raised upon long staffs along the area of the town; and guns fired at sun-rise: these guns are made for such occasions; they are small short iron tubes with a touch-hole of disproportionate dimensions; and they are placed upright upon the ground. In the evening about twenty bonfires were kindled in the square, the houses were illuminated with lamps made in the rinds of half oranges, and many large crosses in different parts of the square were lighted up in the same manner. The church was crowded; the musicians of the island played within and the Olinda band without; the guns fired at intervals, rockets were let off, and the whole scene of confusion was such as they only can imagine who have witnessed a Roman Catholic festival. We remember a scene not less curious in honour of this very Nossa Senhora da Conceicam in Portugal; some angels on horseback were not the least conspicuous personages, but the remarkable part of the exhibition was a battle between two lions, who fought not after the ordinary manner of their kind, but in a novel and ingenious fashion; for first they spat fire at each other, and then they made fire at each other, and lastly they turned tail and bombarded each other with fire, to the infinite delight of the spectators, angels and heretics included, and to the praise and glory of Nossa Senhora da Conceiçam.

When the church service was over, an improvisatore, or glozador as he is called in Portugueze, held forth first in praise of the vicar, then of Our Lady, upon whom all magnificent epithets were heaped, and then upon all the good people of Itamaraca, among whom Henrique da Costa, as Mr. Koster's name was easily rendered, came in for his share ; especial praise being bestowed upon his signal piety in having prepared so splendid an entertainment. In fact he had prepared so much that the grandest exbibition was necessarily delayed till the following evening. This was a dramatic exhibition by a set of performers from the main land, who are called the fandangos. The account of this rude species of drama is so curious that it must be given at length in the author's own words.



' A spacious platform was erected, in the middle of the area of the town, and in front of the vicar's dwelling, raised about three feet from the ground. In the evening four bonfires were lighted, two being on each side of the stage, and soon afterwards the performers made their appearance. The story wbich forms the basis of this amusement is invariably the same; the parts, however, are not written, and are to be supplied by the actors; but these, from practice, know more or less what they are to say. The scene is a ship at sea, which, during part of the time, is sailing regularly and gently along; but in the latter part of the voyage she is in distress. The cause of the badness of the weather remains for a long time unknown; but at last the persons who are on board discover that it has arisen from the devil, who is in the ship, under the disguise of the mizzen-topmast-man. The persons represented, are The Captain,

The Pilot or Mate,
The Master,

The Boatswain,
The Chaplain,
The Raçam, or distributor of the rations,

Two clowns ;
The Vasoura, or sweeper of the decks,
The Gageiro da Gata, or mizzen-topmast-man, alias the Devil.

Twelve men and boys, who are dancers and singers, stand on the stage, six of them being on each side of it; and the leader of the chorus sits at the back of the stage with a guitar, with which he keeps the time, and this person is sometimes assisted by a second guitar player. A ship is made for the occasion; and when the performers stepped on to the platform, the vessel appeared at a distance under full sail, coming towards us upon wheels, which were concealed. As soon as the ship arrived near to the stage it stopped, and the performance commenced. The men and boys who were to sing and to dance were dressed in white jackets and trousers ; they had ribbons tied round their ancles and arms, and upon their heads they wore long paper caps, painted of sarious colours. The guitar player commenced with one of the favourite airs of the country, and the chorus followed him, dancing at the same time. The number of voices being considerable, and the evening extremely calm, the open air was rather advantageous than the contrarý. "The scene was striking," for the bonfires threw sufficient light to allow of our seeing the persons of the performers distinctly; but all beyond was dark, and they seemed to be inclosed by a spacious dome; the crowd of persons who were near to the stage was great, and as the fires were stirred and the fame became brighter, more persons were seen beyond on every side; and at intervals the horses which were standing still farther off, waiting for their masters.

· When the chorus retired, the captain and other superior officers came forward, and a long and serious conversation ensued upon the state of the ship and the weather. These actors were dressed in old uniforms of the irregular troops of the country. They were succeeded by the boatswain and the two clowns; the former gave his orders, to which the two latter made so many objections that the officer was provoked to strike one of them, and much coarse wit passed between the thsee. Soon afterwards came the chaplain in his gown, and his breviary in his


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