Зображення сторінки


lages, are still more exposed than the Indians to the bite of these serpents. Į have run this risk a thousand times, but the beneficent hand of God has always preserved me.

One time, for instance, that I had a great number of Christians assembled in the church, I spent part in hearing the confessions of the men; that I might have the morning left for the women. I had for want of thought, and contrary to my custom, left my lamp burning in my chamber. On my return I perceived one of these great black serpents on the boards upon which I was going to lie down, and I was so frightened at it that in running away I hurt my head very much against the door of my cabin, it was so low. Some catechists, that I called, killed it. If I had not had the light in my chamber, I should infallably have been bitten, and I could not have survived above half an hour.

Another time, when retiring to rest, I heard a great noise in the roof of my hut, which was covered with straw. I thought the noise was made by the rats, which are very numerous here. But in the evening I was very much astonished, when opening my window, I saw one of those serpents, whose venom is instant death, hanging half way down over the place where I had been sleeping all night. On another occasion, while a catechist was reading a book in my presence, one of these serpents fell from the roof upon his book, but did neither of us any harm.

One day, when three or four missionaries were in conference together, sitting under some trees, a serpent slipped on the cassock of one of them, and got into the sleeve, which we wear here very wide on account of the great heat. It came afterwards as far as the wrist, when we gave notice to the missionary, who had not perceived it. He had presence of mind enough not to stir. The serpent rolled quietly on the ground and was killed.

I could recount to you a great number of similar examples, in which we have by the singular protection of God been preserved from the bite of these animals. What happened at Aour was almost miraculous. I had built a tolerably pretty church in honour of the immaculate conception of the B. Virgin. In the statue of her, which I had received from Goa, she was represented as treading the infernal serpent under her feet, The Christians come here to honour ber with much piety

On Christmas eve, when the church was filled with people, a serpent slipped among the legs of the neophytes, and came to the division where the women were, separate from the men. There it climbed up a little girl five or six years old, who perceiving it, set up a great cry, and taking it in her hand, threw it among the women who were near. The fright became general, yet the serpent got away through the door of the church without hurting any one. This was the more remarkable, because at the same time many Indians having retired to one of those halls which are placed upon the high roads, seven or eight of them were bitten by one of those serpents, which had got among them.

Since I have undertaken to explain to you all the difficulties under which we labour in this mission, I must not omit what it costs us to learn the language, and to submit to customs, from which, though excessively painful, we cannot be dispensed. It requires great resolution in a person already advanced in years, to contend with the difficulties that are found in beginning the elements of a language that bears no resemblance whatever to those we learn in Europe. Nevertheless you may get over this by hard labour, and the help of a grammar composed by our first missionaries. But to understand it is not all, you must also pronounce it; and after having employed for a whole year the days and part of the nights in studying the Indian lan


think you have made some progress, you are astonished to find you do not understand the words you make use of yourself, when pronounced by a native. The nerves of the tongue are not pliant enough at a certain age to catch the pronunciation of certain letters. But if the natives have this advantage over the missionary, it frequently happens that the latter surpasses them in elegance of diction.

I shall only say one word of the customs of the country, to which we are obliged to conform ; but there are some a real martyrdom at the beginning. You have seen by our former letters that we are obliged to walk on sandals, which are only held to the foot by a peg of wood which stands between the two largest toes of each foot. This at first is insupportable, and causes inconceivable pain. I have seen missionaries with their toes completely excoriated by it, the wound being so

guage, when

that 66

large as to continue five months. For my part my feet were sore six whole months. This made one of our missionaries say,

as difficult as the language was to learn, it cost him a great deal more to learn how to walk, than how to speak.”

Would you believe it? It will cost you quite as much to learn how to sit in the manner of the Indians. Their custom is to sit on the ground with crossed legs. This posture is very painful to those who are not accustomed to it. If it was to last for a quarter of an hour only, it would be nothing, but you have to remain in that position for four hours together, and sometimes more, without changing your situation. The Indians would be scandalized if you were to extend out your leg, or discover any uneasiness in the posture. Yet time accustoms you to it, and I think it is the most natural of all postures.

Lastly, the greatest and most grievous trial in this mission is the time of sickness, and that state of abandonment to which you are then reduced. You must expect to see yourself then deprived of all human help, in a little hut, lying upon two or three boards, surrounded only by three or four Indians, just as St. Francis Xavier was, when he died in the island of Sancien. It is not that India wants skilful physicians, but they remain in the cities, which they never leave for fear of losing their practice. Besides, if we could prevail on them to come and visit us, we should not like to do it; for they are very bigotted to their science, and still more to their superstitions, so that they seldom prescribe any remedy which is not accompanied with some superstition or other. The village doctors are more docile, but so ignorant that you risk more by consulting them than by going without them. Again, as we are obliged to subject ourselves to the manner of living among the Indians when we are well, we are equally forced to make use of their remedies when we are ill., Now the most famous prescription of the Indian medicine is a total abstinence from all things, even water. This extravagant diet, if I may call it so, is often much more cruel than the malady itself. Yet the sickman dare not complain, for you would greatly disedify the Indians, and astonish them too, if they saw that you

had less command over yourself than any woman among them, who kept this strict fast for seven or eight days together.

(To be continued.)



Sing-To day we will commence our walk at the uoble palace of the bishop of Ely, and passing by the inn, or London lodging of the prior of Semperhingham, enter Smithfield by Cow-lane, when turning a few paces to the right, we shall face the hospital built in 1102, by a courtier, in the reign of king Henry the first, named Bahere," a pleasant witty gentleman," who was also the founder and first prior of the neighbouring monastery. He nominated, as proctor for the poor, Alfune, the same who endowed the church of St. Giles at Cripplegate; and this religious man attended with so much earnestness to the duties of his office, that he went daily to the shambles and other frequented spots, soliciting alms; and by quoting appropriate texts from holy writ, he raised, from the compassion and charity of the public, abundant supplies for the maintenance of his poor charge. King Edward the third afterwards confirmed in the twenty-sixth year of his reign this charitable foundation. And the relict of William Hardell obtained from Henry the third an adjoining piece of land twenty feet square is to build a recluse or ankorage.” The priory, which was erected about the same time as the hospital, stood a little more to the east, and was dedicated to God and to St. Bartholomew. Rahere placed in it canons, became their superior and retained his office until his death. His monument was renewed by Bolton the last prior, and is still to be seen in the church nearly in a perfect state. " There was an old custome," says Howell, “ in London, that schoolmasters should meet on festival daies, and their schollers should dispute in logic, as well as in grammar, questions and principles, and the most common rendezvous was St. Bartholomew's, in Smithfield, where upon a bank boorded under a tree, they used to meet, and the best schol. lers were rewarded with bows and arrows of silver, which they carried away, as prizes. But that laudable custome is grown obsolete, and quite discontinued. To this priory king Henry the second granted the priviledge of a fair to be kept at Bartholomew tide for three days, to wit, the eve, the day, and the next morrow, to the which the clothiers of England and drapers of London repaired, and had their booths and standings within the churchyard of the priory, closed with walls and gates, locked every night, and watched for safety of men's goods and wares.” Many vestiges of this priory are still remaining ; the cloisters, which are 95 feet long, and 15 feet wide, are now converted into a stable: great part of the church is pr bably the same which Rahere himself erected, and is a good specimen of the ecclesiastical architecture of the twelfth century.

We have already in our first letter noticed the magnificent church of the Grey friars : we shall therefore pass by their vast änd extensive monastery and enclosure, situated at the back of the hospital, and bend our course up St. John-street for some distance, when we will incline a little to our left, and visit the convent of Benedictine nuns at Clerkenwell. This house was founded in the year 1100 by a baron of considerable wealth and reputation, Jordan Brisset, and his wife Muriell. They dedicated it to the honour of God and the assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary. Its revenues were encreased by Richard Beaveyes, bishop of London ; and the foundation was afterwards confirmed by king Henry the second. The last prioress of this house was Isabella Sackville; she requested in her will, make a short time before her death, that her body might be buried in the church of her late convent.

This lady must have lived to a very advanced age; for it appears that she was a nun in the priory at Clerkenwell, in the 21st year of the reign of Henry the seventh, and she died in the 12th year of Elizabeth. The church of this convent passed through several hands, and was at length purchased by the parishioners for their parochial church. The following extracts from the register book will shew that the practice of excommunication was not unknown, even in the tolerating reign of the godly Elizabeth :-61596,-paid unto Mr. Dr. Stanhope for an excommacion that he sent against Mr. Trappes and myself, 58. 3d.66 Given unto Mr. Dr. Stavhope for his paynes in coing. to our church, 10s.” Paid at Mr. Dr. Stanhopes office for that we were excommunicated 2s.4d.“ Paid delivering in of the article in ac

« НазадПродовжити »