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O'eb the heath the heifer strays
Now he hides behind a hill,
Trudging as the ploughmen go,
Where the rising forest spreads
As the lark, with varied tune,
Now the hermit owlet peeps From the barn, or twisted brake;
As the trout, in speckled pride,
Tripping through the silken grass,
Linnets, with unnumbered notes,
J. W. Cunningham. Everybodv, or at least, every lady, is aware of the great importance which our gay neighbours, the French belles, attach to the possession of a Cashemere shawl. Indeed, their loveof this article of the wardrobe may almost be said to amount to a mania.
These precious commodities are accustomed to descend from mother to daughter, for many generations; and not a little manoeuvring is said to be practised by the younger branches of a French family, to secure this greatly coveted treasure. It would be difficult, nay, impossible, to account for the estimation in which these shawls are held, on any other principle than the difficulty of their acquisition; for, to an unpractised eye, a shawl that is valued at from one hundred to one thousand pounds sterling, is in reality less beautiful than many that are sold for scarcely so many shillings. From the following amusing sketch, (said to be written by an eye witness,) it would seem that the finesse requisite to secure their possession, is not confined to the ladies only.
"On the confines of Europe and Asia, and near the Wolga, is situated the miserable village of Makarieff, celebrated for the great fair which is held there in July, every year. Forthe space of amonth, afew wretched huts, built on a sandy desert, are replaced by thousands of shops, erected with a promptitude peculiar to the Russians. Taverns, coffee houses, a theatre, ball-rooms, a crowd of wooden buildings, painted and adorned with exquisite taste, spring up. Itis impossible to form an idea of the throng of people of all nations who flock to Makarieff during this holiday. There we find assembled, for the purposes of trade, Russians from all the provinces of the empire, Tartars, Tchouvaches, Tchermisses, Calmoucks, Bucharians, Georgians, Armenians, Persians, and Hindoos; and, besides these, there are Poles, Germans, French, English, and even Americans. Notwithstanding the confusion of costumes and languages, the most perfect order prevails. The riches which are collected together in a space of less than two leagues, are incalculable. The silks of Lyons and Asia, the furs of Siberia, the pearls of the East, the wines of France and Greece, the merchandise of China and Persia, are displayed close to the commonest goods and most ordinary articles.
"One of the most remarkable articles of merchandise in this fair, and, perhaps, the most interesting to the ladies of Europe, is the Cashemere Shawls. For several years past they have been brought in large bales. I have seen a shawl for which eight thousand rubles were asked; although, according to my taste, it was better suited to be spread as a carpet on the divan of an Indian prince, than to cover the shoulders of a lady.
iv. ' i
"The conclusion of a bargain for shawls, always takes place before witnesses; and having been asked to attend in that capacity, I went to the fair with the purchaser, the other witnesses, and a broker, who was an Armenian. We stopped at an unfinished stone house, without a roof, and we were ushered into a kind of cellar. Though it was the abode of an extremely rich Hindoo, it had no other furniture than eighty elegant packages piled one upon the other against the wall.
"Parcels of the most valuable shawls are sold without the purchaser seeing any more than the outside of them; he neither unfolds nor examines them, and yet he is perfectly acquainted with every shawl by means of a descriptive catalogue which the Armenian broker, with much difficulty, procures from Cashemere. He and his witnesses and brokers, for he sometimes has two, all sit down. He does not, however, say a word; every thing being managed by the brokers, who go continually from him to the seller, whisper in their ears, and always take them to the farthest corner of the apartment. The negotiation continues till the price first asked is so far reduced, that the difference between that and the price offered is not too great; so that hopes may be entertained of coming to an agreement. The shawls are now brought; and the two principals begin to negotiate. The seller displays his merchandise, and extols it highly; the buyer looks upon it with contempt, and rapidly compares the numbers and the marks. This being done, the scene becomes animated; the purchaser makes a direct offer, the seller rises, asif going away. The brokers follow him, crying aloud, and bring him back by force: they contend and struggle; one pulls one way and one the other: it is a noise, a confusion, of which it is difficult to form an idea. The poor Hindoo acts the most passive part; he is sometimes even illtreated. When this has continued some time, and they think they have persuaded him, they proceed to the third act, which consists in giving the hand, and is performed in a most grotesque manner. The brokers seize upon the seller, and endeavour, by force, to make him put his hand into thatof the purchaser, who holds itopen, and repeats his offer with a loud voice. The Hindoo defends himself; he makes resistance, disengages himself, and wraps up his hand, in the wide sleeves of his robe, and repeats his first price in a lamentable tone. This comedy continues a considerable time; they separate, they make a pause as if to recover strength for a new contest, the noise and the struggling recommence; at last the two brokers seize the hand of the seller, and, notwithstanding all his efforts and cries, oblige him to lay it in the hand of the buyer.
"All at once the greatest tranquillity prevails; the Hindoo is ready to weep, and laments in a low voice that he has been in too great a hurry. The brokers congratulate the purchaser: they sit down to proceed to the final ceremony—the delivery of the goods. All that has passed is a mere comedy; it is, however, indispensable; because the Hindoo will by all means have the appearance of having been deceived and duped. If he has not been sufficiently pushed about and shaken, if he has not had his collar torn, if he has not received the full complement of punches in the ribs, and knocks on the head, if his right arm is not black and blue, from being held fast to make him give his hand to the buyer, he repents of his bargain till the next feir, and then it is very difficult to make him listen to any terms. In the affair in which I assisted as witness, the Hindoo had demanded 230,000 rubles, and came down to 180,000; and of this sum he paid 2 per cent- to the brokers.
"Our whole party, the seller, buyer, brokers, interpreters, and witnesses, sat down with crossed legs upon a handsome carpet, with a broad fringe, spread on purpose. First of all, ices were brought, in pretty bowls of China porcelain; instead of spoons, we made use of little spatula of mother-of-pearl, fixed to a silver handle by a button of ruby, emerald, turquoise, or other precious stones. When we had taken refreshments, the merchandise was delivered.
"The marks had been verified asecond time, and all found right, new disputes arose about the time of payment; and, when every thing was at last settled, the whole company knelt down to pray. I followed the example of the rest, and could not help being struck by the diversity of the faith of those who were here assembled; there were Hindoos, adorers of Brama, and of numerous idols; Tartars, who submitted their fate to the will of Allah, and Mahomet his prophet; two Parsees, or worshippers of fire; a Calmouck officer, who adored, in the Dala Llama, the living image of the divinity; a Moor, who venerated I know not what unknown being; lastly, an Armenian, a Georgian, and myself a Lutheran, all three Christians, but of different communions —a remarkable example of toleration.
"My prayer was fervent and sincere: I prayed to heaven to bo pleased to cure the women of Europe, as soon as possible, of their extravagant fondness for this article of luxury. The prayer being ended, we saluted one another, and every one emptied his bowl; I never tasted a more agreeable beverage. We then separated, and each went his own way."
Tub air of death breathes through our souls,
The dead all round us lie; liy day and night the death-bell tolls.
And says, u Prepare to die."
The face that in the morning sun We thought so wond'rous fair,
I see the old man in his grave With thin locks silvery-grey •
The loving ones we loved the best,
Like music all are gone!
But not when the death-prayer is said
The life of life departs: The body in the grave is laid,
Its beauty in our hearts.
At holy midnight voices sweet Like fragrance fill the room,
We know who sends the visions bright, From whose dear- side they came!
This frame of dust, this feeble breath The Plague may soon destroy;
Dim is the light of vanish'd years
In the glory yet to come
When Jesus calls us home.
Like children for some bauble fair That weep themselves to rest;
* From "The City of the Plague."