Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Flanders, which are at Rupelmonde, and which, from the middle ages, have been known by the name of Tresorerie des Chartes de Rupelmonde.For the original we are indebted to the Dukes of Burgundy, and it contains about 2000 documents. Amongst those of the 15th and 16th centuries are found all the treaties and other political acts concluded between the House of Burgundy and Charles the Fifth with foreign powers. There is, besides, a collection of memoirs, letters, reports, &c., written in Latin, Flemish, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. M. De St. Genois has admirably acquitted himself of his task, and the lovers of historical researches await with impatience the two remaining parts of the volume.

ART. XVII. - Rerum Flandricarum Tomi X., Auctore Jacobo Meyero

Balliolano. Brugis : Van de Casteele. 1843. In 4to. xxv and

147 pp.

This second edition is the last that has been published by the Society of Emulation of Bruges in 1842. M. Voisin has added a notice on Jacques de Meyere. The original work had become scarce.

It contains many interesting details on the manners and customs of the Flemings in the middle ages. It is from the pen of one of the best historians of Belgium. His annals, written in Latin, and which have never been translated, are a never failing source of knowledge for all who wish for information on ancient Flanders.

ART. XVIII.-Summary of the Documents contained in the Archives of West Flanders at Bruges. Second Series, Vol. I. By Octave Delepierre, Attaché to the Belgian Legation of London. Bruges:

1843. THREE volumes of the first series of this work have already appeared They contain the analysis of original documents from 1089 to 1780. From the first existence of the kingdom of Belgium, the government has understood, that to create a national feeling it was necessary to give to writers the elements of a good history of the country. Each town, each province, possessed rich collections of historical documents. which had remained unexamined. A classification has been made of them, and the work which we announce is the first on this subject which has been published. We have announced that M. De St. Genois bas just terminated a similar work on East Flanders. On the four volumes before us, M. Delepierre has been at work for six years. Many interesting historical details, entirely new, have been brought to light on the corporations, on the commons, on the principal transactions of the Counts of Flanders and the Dukes of Burgundy, and the manners and customs of Flanders.

Art. XIX.- Account of the State of the Province of East Flanders.

Ghent. 1843. In 8vo. pp. 172 and cxxxvi. A similar work has been published for every one of the Belgian provinces. Such a publication is issued yearly by virtue of a clause of the Constitution. The local administration, by this prudent regulation, are compelled to give to the people all the statistical, provincial, and commercial accounts, which are necessary to show that the public money is usefully and economically employed. One day these accounts will become precious documents for the historian.

Art. XX.- National Repertory, Historical and Literury Collection,

8c. 2nd Series, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Parts. Brux.: Wouters &

Raepsoet. 1843. PRINCIPAL articles : -Social State of Rome under the Empire, by M. Allmeyer. Historical Notice on J. B. van Mons. The Hungarian Constitution. Sketch of the History of the Rights of Men, of Diplomacy, and of Maritime Rights, from Charles the Fifth up to the Present Time, by Dr. Coremans. Reflections on the Truces of 1607, 1609, and 1632.

Art. XXI.-Kunst en Letterblad vierde jaergang, Nos. 14, 15, 16,

17. Ghent: Le Hebbelynck. In 4to. PRINCIPAL articles :-Flemish Civilization. Belgian Travellers. Gaspard Barzoen. Flemish Orthography. Continuation and End of Edda. Wieland the Blacksmith. Triennial Exhibition of Pictures at Antwerp. Unpublished Correspondence of Bilderdyk. Poetry. Popular Traditions. Literary Medley.

Art. XXII.-Analysis of the Meetings of the Royal Academy of

Brussels. Vol. X. Nos. 6 and 7. Brux.: Hayez. 1843. These Numbers contain :— The Will of Guy Count de Namur. The Excavations of Pompeii. Greek Paintings. Extracts of MSS., by M. De Reiffenberg. Antiquities at Brunehaul-Leberchies, par Roulez. On Corneille Scepperus, by De Smet. MSS. of the Middle Age. Penelope, by De Witte.

Art. XXIII.- Review of Brussels, July and August. Brux. : De

Mortier. 1843. History of Fear. National Chronicles. Jean sans Peur. Legend of the Campine. Gheel. Men of Letters in Belgium. A Convent of the Fifteenth Century.

National Legends. Festivals of Namur. Miscellanea. Poetry.

325

CORRESPONDENCE.

FROM OUR EGYPTIAN CORRESPONDENT.

Cairo, September 17, 1843. Dear Mr. EDITOR, -I witnessed the other day, at the house of a friend, an extraordinary scene, inasmuch as it is difficult to account for, without admitting some supernatural agency, which one is unwilling to grant, particularly as the performers resisted certain tests of their art, which would have been, if successful, conclusive in their favour.

You must know that in Egypt there is a set of men who pretend to possess a supernatural power over snakes and scorpions; they would fain have you to believe that if any of these animals be in your house, within the reach of the sound of their voice, they would come from their lurking places when summoned in the proper form. The profession of snake-charming is exercised by this particular tribe of Arabs, called Saadi, whose sheikh, or head, lives in Cairo; their performance has indeed something about it extremely magical; but whether these men do really inherit any particular power, or have been instructed in their art by the descendants of those wise men and sorcerers of Pharaoh at the time of Moses, has never been clearly ascertained.

I will relate the circumstances as they occurred, and leave you to judge for yourself.

A snake having been seen in the upper room of the house of a friend of mine, he sent for one of these men, and I happened to be there when three of them arrived. They were dressed in the usual clothes of the lower classes-viz., a red cap and turban, an inner and outer tunic, in this case without a belt, and shoes; each carried a leather bag and a wand.

They were searched and admitted into a lower chamber, where it was proposed they should make their first essay. One of the men advancing from the crowd of servants and people collected (among whom were two Englishmen besides myself), and brandishing his wand, tapping gently the woodwork in the chamber, and then placing himself in the middle of the room, gave a long whistle, and in a loud voice and musical cadence said " In the name of God, the highest, the most perfect," and several other sentences which I could not catch, in which, however, the name of Solomon the son of David occurred, terminating the chant by commanding the snakes, if above, to come down—if below, to come up to him. After using the same form of incantation two or three times without success, he went into another apartment on the same floor, repeating the like till he was satisfied that no snakes were to be found. He was then conducted into the upper chamber, where a snake had been seen; the same formula was repeated several times, while the doors, at his request, of adjoining rooms were opened when advancing, he made a thrust with his wand behind a door, and then, starting back, baring his arm and brandishing bis wand, thrust it again behind the door, dragging out, with seeming caution, at the end of his wand a snake of about four feet long, which when he had advanced to the middle of the room, with violent and grotesque gesture, he seized by the neck to the great dismay of the bystanders, who retreated as best they could to the doors and walls, leaving him ample space for his manœuvres. Being assured at length of the perfect control he seemed to possess over the enemy, we gradually advanced, while he, with the sleeve of his tunic, drew from the mouth of the snake a number of small teeth, which he forbad us to touch, picking them out from his sleeve with great caution. All now was hubbub and confusion; the crowd had pressed round the man, when something was said in disparagement of the performance, and the man, to our utter astonishment, bit off the head of the snake, and while answering the reproach and chewing the head, took another bite, much to the disgust of our host, who put an end to the repast by removing to the house of a person in the vicinity. The company followed and witnessed the catching of several snakes; in every case, however, the snake was taken from behind the door of an inner room, the man filling up the entrance and frightening away all the witnesses by the violence and suddenness of his movements. We were then taken to the top of the house ; then, as a climax, and to remove all suspicion of his having snakes secreted in his dress, the performer divested himself of his habiliments and entered a small dark chamber on the roof in a state of primitive innocence, bringing out with him one of the largest snakes that had been caught. Nevertheless, this also failed to convince some of the company, who, with the three Saadi, were invited to the house of an Armenian gentleman, who caused them to be searched in the street before entering. Having arrived in the court-yard, a black servant of our host submitted to the process of being rendered invulnerable. A serpent was put round his neck and made to bite the lobe of his left ear, and after repeating certain words the boy was considered sufficiently initiated to be intrusted with several snakes, which at last were handed about, the company having become familiar with those objects of terror; and the little white teeth, which at first it was dangerous to remove, even from the sleeve of the tunic, were taken out of many a finger with no worse consequences than the loss of a drop or two of blood, which usually flowed on sucking the wound. Two small snakes were taken out of the house of the Armenian gentleman, and three or four others from an adjoining house. The party then adjourned to the court-yard of the Armenian house, and it was proposed that all the snakes should be put in the middle of the court, while the Saadi should place himself in an adjoining room to call them to him after the approved form. This ingenious test was violently opposed by all three of the Saadi, and during the argument, which was confused and noisy, the snakes were caught up and carried off, and the whole party dispersed.

N.B. - The snakes were all of one kind, except the two small ones found in the house of the Armenian. None of them had the appearance of venomous serpents, the head not flat, joined to the body without any apparent neck, long tail and pointed termination.

" Do

a

FROM OUR GERMAN CORRESPONDENT. To the Editor of the Foreign and Colonial Quarterly Review. DEAR SIR, – You will not receive to-day a complete notice of all the new works which have appeared in these last months, but only slight sketches, which may, perhaps be worked out at some future opportunity. There is no one particular work which has “ fait époque" during this period; and partly owing to this, partly to the endless quantity of Swedish, Danish, English, and French translations which have of late been showered upon us, it has become a matter of difficulty to attain to a careful reading, and form a sound opinion even of those original works the authors of which have become more or less generally known amongst us. “ Have you read · Les Mystères de Paris ?'is asked with as great an interest as that with which people once on a time discoursed on the new productions of a Schiller or a Goethe. you prefer (Miss) Bremer to Stygara Carlen, or to Anderssen?" " Have you finished • The Last of the Barons ?'” If our old literary dictator, Goethe, had lived to see this almost miraculous fulfilment of his wish,

that world literature” might spread from clime to clime, and land to land ; if he had lived to see this wish fulfilled in such a manner, that fulfilment would in sooth appear to him like the sardonic granting of some wish, (such as we read of in our elfin legends,) through which the unhappy wisher is thrown into the power of a malignant sprite of ill. For, despite all these sometimes very good translations, how far, how very far, are the nations of Europe from understanding one another's modes of thought, or peculiar spirits of literature !

In perceiving the names attached to the works which I shall thus hastily call to your notice, you will be enabled to guess at the real value of those productions; and I am the more justified in adopting this cursory tone, from my having already introduced all these authors to your notice in my former letters. In the first place, then, I must inform you that the Fifth Part of Kohl's Travels, “ A Hundred Days in the Austrian States,” treats of Styria, and is upon the whole, perhaps, the most interesting and generally successful of the series. Styria's marked and striking peculiarities, its salt-mines, its other mining and forest districts ; Gratz, with its University; the Alps, with their docks and shepherdesses; the many characteristic national forms and classes, even the unfortunate so-called “ Troddeln," (the “cretins” of the Styrian Alps,)—all these form themselves, as it were, into one harmonious whole, a whole which becomes a rich landscape background bringing into fine relief one principal and prominent figure, which stands out brilliantly from the groundwork of natural and artificial beauties round it; and this figure is no other than the portraiture of the universally loved and honoured Arch-Duke John, in his life and calling, amongst his own people, and his own Alps.

« AnteriorContinuar »