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high altarstands. 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 bas 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 corveyed 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 lite 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, bareheaded, 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 andactivity who wereas braveasthemselves, 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 thought it prudent to remove. Accordingly be 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 Pernam. bucan 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 selle
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 providing and paying for the entertainments on the ninth and last nightof 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 ofl, 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 Conceiçam in Portugal; some angels on horseback were not the least conspicuous person. ages, 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 Conceicam.
When the church service was over, an improvisatore, or glozador as he is called in Portuguese, 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 exhibition 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 wbicb 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,
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 trowsers ; they had ribbons tied round their ancles and arms, and upon their heads they wore long paper caps, painted of various colours. The guitar player commenced with one of the favourite airs of the country, and the chorus followed him, dancing the same time. The number of voices being considerable, and the evening extremely calm, the open air was rather advantageous than the contrary. 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 enclosed by a spacious dome ; the crowd of persons who were near to the stage was great, and as the fires were stirred and the flame 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 three. Soon afterwards came the chaplain in his gown, and his breviary in his
hand ; and he was as much the butt of the clowns, as they were of the rest of the perforiners. The most scurrilous language was used by them to him; be was abused, and was taxed with almost every irregularity possible. The jokes became at last so very indecent, as to make the vicar order bis doors to be shut. The dancers came on at each change of scene, if I may so say, I went home soon after the vicar's doors were closed, and did not see the conclusion ; but the matter ended by throwing the devil overboard, and reaching the port in safety. The performers do not expect payment, but rather consider themselves complimented in being sent for. They were tradesmen of several descriptions residing at Pasmado, and they attend on these occasions to act the fandangos, if requested so to do; but if not, many of them would most probably go to enjoy any other sport which the festival might afford. We paid their expenses, and gave them their food during their stay; they were accompanied by their families, which were all treated in the same manner, to the number of about forty persons.—(pp. 324–325.)
The ant, which is so great a pest in this part of America that it used to be called the king of Brazil
, infests Itamaraca more perhaps than any other province. Barlæus says that it was barren in some parts ob formicarum perpetuas populationes, quas insula maximè experitur. The large red ant, which is from a quarter of an inch to an inch in length, and inflicts a painful bite, lives, according to Mr. Koster, wholly on vegetable food. It is so peculiarly destructive to the mandioc as to have obtained the name of formiga de roça; the word roça, which originally signified any piece of cultivated ground, being at present applied exclusively in Pernambuco to a plantation of mandioc. The mandioc is planted upon hillocks; Mr. Koster had planted a considerable quantity in low marshy ground, where the earth was so moist, that the water stood in the furrows round the bottom of every hillock, securing them as he supposed from the ants; one afternoon he went to see the field, and to his astonishment perceived that some of the plants were stript of their leaves: for some minutes it puzzled him to conceive by what means the enemy could have invaded them, till he discovered that they had formed a bridge of leaves and were passing to and fro. As these destructive insects infested his garden and his house he made war upon them vigorously,cut away a bank till their nests were laid open, and then destroyed them with fire. Their nests were circular holes of about six inches in diameter, having one or more passages to the surface, but not all communicating with each other: and these holes contained a gray substance which in appearance resembled cobwebs closely pressed together; when squeezed in the hand it left a moisture. Mr. Koster found them extremely troublesome during the rains; they would then make their way between the bricks and the floor. They were evidently avoiding the wet at these times : perhaps the easiest mode of de
stroying them would be by making deep holes with a stake as near their nests as possible, just as the rains set in,-as is done in England at the commencement of winter when land is to be cleared of ant hills,
A very diminutive black ant, the smallest of the species, is so determined and so dreadful an enemy to the large redant, that the Brazilians have engaged it in their service as an ally. It makes its nest in trees; so the inhabitants encourage colonies to settle upon the orange and other fruit trees, which they defend most effectually against the red enemy. Mr. Koster has seen the entrance to the nest of the reds surrounded by the dead of both parties, and always observed that the slain of the red outnumbered those of the black, though in the action the black are always far most numerous. It must be to their numbers that they owe their superiority, not to any more effectual means of offence, for if the bite of the insect were venomous it would become itself a nuisance in the fruit trees. The small red and the small black species are carnivorous, and the former has the most offensive smell of the whole tribe, though they all emit a most unpleasant odour. This indeed is so strong in some of the English species that we have known the cure rants upon a garden wall rendered not eatable by their frequently walking over them. Kolbe relates that the Hottentots used for their pottery the mould of ant-hills well cleansed of sand and gravel, and afterwards kneaded with the bruised eggs of the insect, by which the pupa is meant: this animal matter, he says, produced in the baking a cement which diffused itself through the whole mass, bound it firmly, and gave a permanent colour of jet-black. It appears from that strange composition, Suwarrow's Catechism, that the Russian soldiers take ants medicinally; and in Sweden they are distilled with rye, to flavour some inferior kinds of brandy. Either Mr. Kirby, or Mr. Spence, tells us from experience that instead of having any unpleasant flavour, the ant is very agreeably acid,--and that the taste of the trunk and abdomen is different. Hitherto, we believe, the formic acid is chiefly known among scientific men in Europe, but in some countries it serves for condi. ment and for medicine. The Brazilians, perhaps, may not be easily persuaded to use them as either; but they may lessen the number of these formidable enemies by encouraging, instead of destroying, the inoffensive and useful tamandua, -and by rearing those kinds of poultry who greedily devour the ant in its perfect or in its pupa state.
The termites also infest Itamaraca. Certain kinds of timber are more liable to their attacks than others. Mr. Koster's house was not built of the best kind; he was advised to besmear with treacle the places where they attempted to throw up their covered ways,