Page images

of gold ornaments, and which to the last retained the name of its illustrious captive. Holinshed mentions three lines which the princess wrote with a diamond on the glass of her window:—

Much suspected by me, Nothing proved can be, Quoth ELIZABETH, prisoner. The German, Hentzner, who travelled in England in 1598, has recorded a sonnet, written by her with a piece of charcoal on a window-shutter, to the following effect:— O, Fortune! how thy restless wavering state, Hath fraught with cares my troubled wit! Witness this present prison, whither fate Hath borne me, and the joys I quit. Thou causedest the guilty to be loosed From bands, wherewith are innocents enclosed; Causing the guiltless to be strait reserved, And freeing those that death had well deserved; But by her envy can be nothing wrought, So God send to my foes all they have thought. A.D. MDLv. ELIZABETH, Prisoner. In the Bodleian Library there is an English translation of St. Paul's Epistles, printed in the black letter, which the Princess Elizabeth used during her confinement at Woodstock; and on a blank leaf is the following paragraph, written with her own hand, and in the style characteristic of the age :-" I walke many times into the pleasant fieldes of the Holye Scriptures, where I plucke up the goodliesome herbs of sentences by pruning, eate them by reading, chawe them by musing, and laie them up at length in the hie seate of memorie by gathering them together; that so having tasted the sweetness I maye the lesse perceave the bitterness of this miserable life.” The covers of this book are of black silk, and the princess had amused herself with curiously working, or embossing, various devices and Latin inscriptions in gold twist. Elizabeth was strictly guarded during her stay at Woodstock, though she was sometimes allowed to walk in the gardens of the palace. In this situation it is “no marvell,” to use the words of Holinshed, “if the hearing upon a time out of her garden at Woodstocke, a certain milkmaide singing pleasantlie, wished herself to be a milkmaide as she was, saying that her case was better and life merrier.” A fire broke out during the princess's imprisonment in the room under her room ; it was promptly extinguished, and seems to have been the result of accident. At a very early period Woodstock was a royal residence, and as late as the reign of Charles the First, all our kings were in the habit of occasionally taking up their abode here. The palace, or manorhouse, was besieged by the Parliamentarians in the grand rebellion; and after being stoutly defended for some time by an officer of great skill and devoted loyalty, it sustained much damage, and was surrendered by commissioners from the king. In 1649 commissioners were assembled here by order of the Rump Parliament, for the purpose of surveying the royal property. They made the king's bedchamber their kitchen, the council-hall they converted into a brewhouse, and in the dining-room they collected, for the use of their fires, logs sawn from a noble tree, which had long flourished in the park under the name of the King's Oak.

But their triumph was soon interrupted by circumstances which filled that credulous age with wonder, and afforded an apt subject of laughter to the era which succeeded. Frightful noises assailed their ears in the night; dreadful phantasms glided before their eyes; nor were their sight and hearing alone rendered subject to terrific visitations; many round blows were given; their bed-clothes were torn in fragments, and sundry noxious ingredients were discharged on their amazed foreheads, The populace digni

fied the nocturnal operator with the name of the Just Devil of Woodstock. It afterwards appeared that the whole was contrived by the ingenuity of an adroit and humourous royalist, named Joe Collins, who had procured the situation of secretary to the commissioners, for the purpose of imposing on their credulity. When the jest was discovered, Collins was styled the Merry Devil of Woodstock.

The furniture was soon afterwards sold, and the buildings portioned by Cromwell or his agents, among three persons. Two of these about 1652, pulled down their portions for the sake of the stone ; the portion of the third, which consisted of the gatehouse in which the Princess Elizabeth was imprisoned, and some adjoining ruinous buildings was left standing. At a subsequent period this gatehouse was converted into a dwelling, by John Lord Lovelace, who was captain of the band of pensioners to William the Third ; and here that nobleman resided for many years. The adjoining ruins were standing sometime afterwards; and there were persons living towards the close of the last century, who could remember a noble porch and some walls of the hall, the walls and magnificent windows of the chapel, several turrets at proper distances, and who could trace out many of the apartments. While Blenheim palace was building, Sir John Vanbrugh laid out 2000l. in keeping up the ruins of Woodstock. But the Lord Treasurer Godolphin afterwards observing to Sarah the Duchess of Marlborough, that a pile of ruins in the front of so fine a seat was an unseemly object, all the old buildings, including the Princess Elizabeth's gatehouse, were entirely demolished and removed. Our engraving contains a view of the “Princess Elizabeth's Chamber,” and its adjoining ruins, originally taken in 1714, a few years before their destruction.


ScARCELY can I conceive even to myself, this union between my body and my soul. How is it that I bear upon me the stamp of the Divinity, and that at the same time I grovel in the dust? Is my body in health, it wars against me. Is it sick, I languish with it in sympathy. It is at once a companion that I love, and an enemy that I dread. It is a prison, that frightens me, a partner with whom I dwell. If I weaken it by excess, I become incapable of amything noble ; if I indulge it, or treat it with too much consideration, it revolts, and my slave escapes me. It fastens me to the earth by ties I cannot break; and prevents me from taking my upward flight to God for which end alone I was created. It is an enemy that I love, a treacherous friend whom it is my duty to distrust. To fear and yet to love . At once what union and what discord ' For what end, with what secret motive, is it that man has been thus organized? Is it not that God has seen it fit by this means to humble our pride, which may otherwise have carried us to the height of disdaining even our Creator, in the thought that being derived from the same fount of being, we might be permitted to regard ourselves as on terms of equality with Him It is them to recall us incessantly to the sense of our entire dependence on him, that God has reduced our bodies to this state of frailty, which exposes it to perpetual combats; balancing our nobleness by our baseness; holding us in suspense between death and immortality, according to the affection which inclines us to the body or the soul; so that, if the excellences of our souls should inspire us with pride, the imperfections inseparable from our bodies may bring us back to humility.—St. GREGoRy; Book of the Fathers. 372—2


No. XII. THE ExoDUs.

THE destruction of all the firstborn of Egypt was so fearful a visitation, that the wicked Pharaoh no longer dared to brave the rightful anger of the Omnipotent, and he gave a reluctant consent to the departure of the children of Israel. There are some circumstances in the account of the preparations which the chosen people made for their perilous journey requiring a brief comment, and we shall therefore make an extract from the sacred narrative. And it came to pass, that at midnight the LoRD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound y in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. (Exodus xii. 29–36.) In this passage we must first remark that the destruction of the firstborn took place at a time when the Egyptians were buried in sleep, for it appears from the monuments that they went early to repose, at least we can discover no representations of lamps or candles, nor are fragments of lamps among the articles of Egyptian pottery, discovered in the ruins of their cities in anything like the abundance in which they are found at Herculaneum and Pompeii. This must have added awfully to the terrors of the miracle, and it is no wonder that Pharaoh in the midst of darkness, desolation, and death, should have hurried away those whom he regarded as the source of so fearful a visitation. It is mentioned that among the sufferers was “the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon;" although there is no distinct representation of a prison on any of the Egyptian monuments which have been yet discovered, there can be doubt that women and children shared the captivity of their husbands and fathers; we find them driven like herds of cattle to the slave-market, led as memorials of victory in triumphal processions, and forced to bear a part in the onerous labours in posed upon slaves. In the East at the present day, women and children continue subject to the calamities of war; in the revolutions of Persia, during the last century, many ladies of exalted rank might say in the sad words of the prophet, “ They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills." (Lam. iv. 5.) There is no improbability therefore in the statement of the tenth plague having aggravated the miseries even of the prison-house, and swept away the firstborn of the captive, as well as the firstborn of the king. And as we have shown in preceding sections of this series, that the reigning Pharaoh was most probably a foreign intruder, it is not difficult to believe that the amount of captives in the Egyptian dungeons must have been very considerable.

[blocks in formation]

the two figures are engaged in the manufacture of piped sweetmeats, not unlike maccaroni both in shape and consistency, which is at the present day a favourite luxury with the natives of Hindústan. It seems probable that the preparation of these and similar sweetmeats, was one of the tasks imposed upon the Hebrews during their bondage in Egypt; for we learn from the book of Samuel, that the preparation of these confections was looked upon as a degrading toil, and among the evils which the prophet predicts to the people from their determination to elect a king, we find this circumstance put very prominently forward. “And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.” (1 Sam. viii. 13.) Our translation states that the Hebrews borrowed jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, from the Egyptians, by the direction of Moses, and thus seems to cast an imputation of dishonesty on the transaction which is far from being warranted by the original text. In the first place, the verb shaal signifies not to borrow, but to demand, and secondly, the word kelim signifies not jewels, but vessels or implements. The plain meaning of the passage then is, that the Israelites demanded payment of the wages due to them for their labours, and as these were considerable, the amount paid must have exhausted the immediate resources of the Egyptians. There is nothing that more excites astonishment in viewing the monuments, than the vast amount of gold and silver plate displayed on the sideboards and in the palaces of the Egyptians, and it is not improbable that before the use of coinage became common, such vases were sometimes employed as a medium of exchange. But the monuments suggest to us another meaning of the word kelim; they show us that the Egyptians in the early ages used ring-money, that is, bullion made up in the shape of annulets like the bangles worn by the Hindús, which are frequently used for money in India. Indeed, in consequence of bullion circulating in this shape, we find that balances were erected for weighing money, and assay-masters appointed to

determine the purity of the vessel in all the principal market-places. And this custom prevailed in

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Hanameel, mine uncle's son, came to me in the court of the prison, according to the word of the Lord, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the work of the Lord. And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. (Jeremiah xxxii. 8–10.

Bangles, or ring-money, are still employed as a medium of exchange in India and the interior of Africa; very little attention is paid to the beauty of their manufacture, and hence they might well be called kelim by the sacred historians, for that word is properly applied to articles coarsely made for ordinary use, but never, we believe, to anything like ornamental work. It appears from what we have said, that the transaction which has so often furnished materials for revilings and objections, to those who “sit in the seat of the scornful,” was a mere act of equity, a demand of what was justly due.

The passover was strictly a Hebrew institution, and we cannot expect to find any illustration of it, save very indirectly on the Egyptian monuments; we may, however, see that the directions given respecting the manner in which it was to be eaten, are directly the reverse of the habits which were adopted at meals in the valley of the Nile.

And thus shall ye eat it; yo loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover. (Ex. xii. li.) The Egyptians were particularly formal at their dinners, which always commenced at noon, and a great variety of viands were displayed at their tables. So very formal were they at these entertainments, that we find dresses provided for the guests, a custom which had not fallen into disuse so late as the coming of Christ, as we learn from the parable of the marriage of the king's son. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away. (Matt. xxii. 11—13.)

There was no excuse for the disrespect shown,

as proper vestments were provided by the giver of the feast. But all the circumstances attending the eating of the Paschal Lamb, were designed to mark urgency and haste. Instead of being divided into joints, and served up with variety of cookery, it was to be roasted whole; its only accompaniment was to be bitter herbs, for it was not an entertainment of luxury, but an acknowledgment of deliverance from the most cruel servitude recorded in the ammals of history.


The next circumstance to which our attention is directed, is the course pursued by the Israelites after their departure from Egypt.

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. (Gen. xiii. 19.)

The Philistines appear to have been a people of the same race as the Hyksos, by whose ravages we have already shown that the Egyptians were very severely harassed. During the period of their bondage, the Israelites had not been permitted to learn the use of weapons, they were, therefore, likely to be daunted if immediately brought into collision with the most warlike nation of antiquity. It was necessary that they should undergo a long course of preparation by their wanderings in the desert, that they might learn confidence in themselves and in their God.

Joseph's anxiety to have his bones buried in the sepulchre of his fathers, is a feeling common in most nations, but it was one likely to be greatly strengthened by a residence in Egypt, where kings looked upon their tombs as of greater importance than their palaces. We find from the monuments, that the Egyptians had family cemeteries, and that it was considered a great disgrace to be excluded from them; and to ensure that none but the worthy should be admitted there was a solemn judgment of the dead, through which ordeal even the king's corpse should pass before it received interment.




THE calm sublimity, the deep and tender pathos, the chastened hopes, that pervade the beautiful and purely spiritual service of our national church, must have been deeply felt by all who have once followed to their long home the mortal remains of one beloved : and who is there that has not done so 2 and who is there, though he may have bent over the grave with tears, that has not quitted it with hope, for the time “a wiser and a better man," beneath the influence of its soothing promises Far from repressing the tenderest emotions of our mature, it encourages, whilst it regulates, ennobles, and sanctifies them. The whole of the Greco-Russian church-service for the burial of the dead is highly impressive, but at the same time much too exciting. They have a singular form, peculiar to themselves, of making known the death of a person. The individual sent round to the friends and relatives to convey the tidings, would, supposing the name of the deceased to be John, and that of his father James, announce it thus:–Ivan Jakovitch vam jelatt dolgo jeet;-" John, the son of James, wishes you to live long,” adding generally the family name of the individual. The last struggle over, and the filmed eye closed by the hand of the nearest relative, the body, having first been washed, in accordance with the practice of ancient and modern times, is habited in its ordinary apparel, as is the practice of most countries on the Continent. The hands are crossed on the breast, and above them is laid a picture of the patron saint. If the individual had been in the service of the crown, the corpse is generally arrayed in full dress uniform. The priest is then summoned : after fumigating the apartment with incense, and blessing it by the aspersion of holy water, he reads a short formula : a few verses are then sung by the attendant choir, in a low impressive tone, and the service is then concluded with prayers for the soul of the deceased. It is generally the practice among the wealthier classes to retain a deacon or other inferior member of the ecclesiastical body, to read might and day selections from the Gospel, whilst the body remains in the house: this, however, is not ordained by the church. Receiving intimation of the event, in the terms we have mentioned, the friends and relatives of the deceased throng to the house of death, to offer their condolence. The custom of paying a visit of this kind in mourning is not observed in Russia: indeed on entering the saloon the assemblage might almost be mistaken for one gathered on some ordinary occasion. The sombre attire, the quiet subdued tone of manners, the suppressed voice, the noiseless tread, are wanting. The rustling of silks, the jingling of spurs, the unstifled laugh, the elevated tone of voice, are little in harmony with the solemnity of the occasion. The wreaths of fragrant incense that curl through the opened door of the adjoining room, the monotonous sound of the reader's voice as he recites the Gospels in low and hurried tones, the sob of the bereaved, heard perhaps at intervals of silence, alone tell that the hand of the spoiler has been there. By turns the visitors are introduced into the apartment, where the body lies in state. The coffin, placed upon a trestle covered with crimson embroidered velvet, differs altogether in shape and ornament from those used in England, rather resembling the ancient sarcophagi, but accommodated in length to the human figure. It also stands in the same way upon four

claws: these are generally plated or gilt The cover

ing is of crimson or pink velvet, or cloth, frequently sumptuously fringed with gold or silver : the lining is of white satin, and the head of the deceased rests upon a pillow of the same material. At the head and also at the feet are placed two enormous wax tapers, in massy silver or plated tripods. There formerly existed a practice of hiring mourners, or persons whose sole occupation it was to attend upon funerals, To feign a woe they could not feel. . This repulsive custom, although not extinct, is nevertheless banished from the capitals, excepting among the more ignorant classes. The writer of this article has witnessed it repeatedly in the provinces, and once or twice in the ancient metropolis of Russia. Not only unauthorized by, but utterly at variance with, the form prescribed by the Greek church, it has in all probability been adopted in imitation of the customs of the Jews and Romans, among the latter of whom, as with the Russians, only women, called prafica, were employed. According to the laws of Russia, the body must be deposited in the church, there to remain until the final ceremonies, which are as follows:– The streets from the house to the church, and thence to the cemetery, through which the hearse passes, are strewed with sprigs of the aromatic juniper. First come ten or twelve torch-bearers, in long black cloaks, the collars and narrow capes of which are bound with white, and wearing round hats with enormous brims, eight or mine inches in width, that hang upon the shoulders and back, and flap over the face. Each bears a flambeau of resinous gum. As the interments invariably take place in the morning, in the full blaze of day, the effect is most absurd. Although the funerals of private individuals were always performed by torchlight and at night, yet the Romans it is well known celebrate all public obsequies in the forenoon; and it is generally imagined, from a passage in Plutarch, also with torches. From thence, in all probability, the custom has descended through the early Greek missionaries in the first ages of Christianity; at any rate, the high antiquity of the practice is unquestionable. Next come the clergy habited in their sacerdotal robes, usually, on these occasions, of black velvet, embroidered with silver, the priests bearing tapers, the deacons censors with incense, and repeating at intervals, in recitative, short prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased, the responses and the chorus to which are chanted by the choir which follows next in succession. Should the deceased have obtained any marks of distinction in the service, the badges of his orders, and the insignia of his office, are borne before the hearse on cushions of crimson velvet, carried by persons as nearly as may be of his own rank ; a custom decidedly of classic origin. To these succeeds the corpse, the coffin exposed to view on an open hearse, and supported by servants attired in mourning. In some cases the lid is carried before, the body being covered as far as the chest by a rich pall of coloured velvet, gorgeously embroidered. In the obsequies of persons of rank or wealth, a canopy of crimson velvet, fringed with gold lacings, is placed over the coffin. Then follow the mourners and friends in carriages, whilst the slaves and supernumerary servants on foot, flank and terminate the procession. After a brief halt in the narthex of the church when the lid, if it have remained on, is removed, the coffin is borne into the nave, and deposited on a bier of embroidered velvet, before the steps of the chancel. Large wax tapers are placed round it, and each of the attendant friends is also furnished with one of smaller size, These kindled, and the choristers sta

tioned at each end of the chancel, the service begins with the 91st Psalm, which is sung in an under voice; afterwards follows the 119th Psalm, chanted in louder tones. At the end of each verse the Hallelujah Chorus is sung by the whole choir, invocations to the Virgin, and prayers for the dead, are then offered up, accompanied by the chanted response of the choristers. Among the hymns sung on the occasion is the following, attributed to Joannas Damascenas, At the conclusion of the prayers, the priest and deacons descend from the altar, and walking three times round the bier, perfuming with their censors and sprinkling the by-standers with holy water, then stationing themselves around, a solemn and affecting farewell hymn is sung, and the mourning friends hasten to pay their last honours and give the parting kiss; this is termed the Aspasmos, or last embrace.

Draw near, my brethren ascribing glory to God, let us give our last kiss, and bid our last farewell, to our departed brother; engrossed no longer by the vanities, or the cares of the world, he hath forsaken his kindred, and approacheth the tomb. His kindred and his friends where are they 2 Behold we are separated. May the Lord grant unto him repose ! But what a separation my brethren what lamentation and woe attend this mournful hour ! Draw near ! Embrace him who was lately one of yourselves. He is abandoned to the grave, he sojourneth in darkness and must moulder with the dead. Now is he cut off from his kindred and his friends. May the Lord grant unto him reposes Every unholy connexion with life and its vanities is dissolved. The spirit hath left its tenement, the clay is disfigured, the vessel broken. We bear a motionless, speechless, senseless carcase to the tomb. May the Lord grant unto him repose ! What is life? a blossom, a vapour, the light dew of morning. Come near, then, let us attentively contemplate the grave Where now the graceful form * Where the sparkling of the eye, the beauty of the cheek? all, all, withered like the grass, have vanished from our eyes. Come, let us prostrate ourselves with tears, before Christ our Saviour. What lamentation and woe, what tears and agonies when the soul is torn from the body' Hades and the bottomless pit yawn around. Life is a fleeting shadow, a dream of error, the fruitless toil of transitory being. Fly then the contaminations of the world, that ye may lay hold of the kingdom of heaven. Let us approach, my brethren' and view the dust and ashes of which we are formed. Whither are we bound 2 What shall be our destiny? Who is poor, who is rich 2 Who is master? Who is slave? All, all, are but ashes. The glory of man passeth away: the flower of youth is plucked by death. See the limbs now motionless which were lately strung with vigour. Lo! now they are powerless, the eyes are closed; the feet fast bound; the hands at rest; the ears have ceased from their office; the §. hath no utterance. All are given up to the grave, behold all things terrestrial are vanity.

The scene is impressive, but everything around too strongly tends to arouse the imagination, and stimulate the feelings to a pitch of unnatural excitement, incompatible with the solemn and holy thoughts which should occupy the mind at such a moment.

Even to the casual stranger the excitation is irresistibly powerful, “he catches the trick of grief,” and shares in the sorrow of the mourners, as he sees friend after friend with grief swollen cheek and streaming eyes, ascend the steps of the platform, falter out the valedictory prayer, and imprint the parting kiss on the lips and brow of the dead.

The last embrace given, and the farewell hymn sung, the procession resumes its way, in the same order, to the cemetery, where no further ceremonial is observed, excepting that the officiating priest casts first a little earth, in the form of a cross, into the vault, upon a coffin, and then pours upon it some holy oil, pronouncing the words, “The earth is the

Lord's and the fulness thereof, the round world and they that dwell therein.” He then dismisses the assembly with the doxology and benediction. Services are performed, and the absolution and remission read at the church, or at the grave, on the third, ninth, and fortieth day, on the birthday, and on the anniversary of the demise of the individual. The two last are continued for an indefinite length of time. These services are not ordained by the rubric of the church, but have been sanctioned by long usage, and adopted from the practice of the primitive oriental Greek church, which practice is itself clearly deducible from the Paternalia of the ancients. It is worthy of remark, that the Mussulmans observe also the third, ninth, and fortieth days, and provide feasts upon the occasion, as is done in Russia. The service on the third day is called the Tretinui, that on the ninth the Devatinui; the popular belief is, that the soul of the deceased has not, till this period, or till the expiration of the fortieth day, wholly shaken off the trammels of earth. This service has a parallel in the Novemdiale of the Romans, a solemnity grounded upon the same superstition. Another practice, evidently of high antiquity, prevails throughout the country and amongst all classes. During the celebration of the service, a dish called the Kootiyah composed of rice, dressed with honey, to which raisins are sometimes added, is placed near the coffin; after the burial, each of the guests invited to the feast, usually prepared on such occasions, takes three spoonfuls of the Kootiyah, and repeats a short ejaculating prayer for the repose of the deceased's soul. On the fortieth day prayers are again said, and a service performed, called the Sorotchenui, after which the priests, with the friends, are assembled to dinner, and commence by partaking of the “Kootiyah,” accompanied with the usual prayer for the dead. Sometimes a daily service is performed till the expiration of the forty days : this is termed the Coroköoustič. It would be idle to record the numberless silly popular superstitions as to the origin of these ceremonies, that are prevalent, not only among the lower classes, but even amongst those who from rank and education might be expected to know better. From the prevailing imagination that the souls of the deceased-hovered about the graves, it is well known that the ancient heathens were in the habit of preparing a feast for the dead and the living called the Silicernium, and that a portion of this was deposited on the tomb or within the temple. The fondness with which some of the early converts clung to these practices of their forefathers, blending them with the pure rites of their newly adopted worship, and the eagerness with which their steps were followed in succeeding ages, by the indiscriminating zeal of those who had not the same blinding associations of kindred and of country, will sufficiently account for the transmission of these customs to later ages and more enlightened times, although unsanctioned by the authority of the church, and in direct opposition to the simple character of its ritual. Another coincidence is not unworthy of remark: the term Bustirupus, (the robber of the pyre,) was among the Romans one of the deepest execration and contempt. The Russians have a corresponding expression Kootyanik, a word signifying the “stealer of Kootiyah,” one of the most opprobrious epithets that can be applied to the vilest criminal. The will of the deceased is read, and his papers are examined on the fortieth day, when the seal placed on his property by the police is removed by the proper authorities.

« PreviousContinue »