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confess. Numerous strong-boxes, with small
slits in their covers, are fixed in various
conspicuous spots of the building; and inscriptions
above them explain that the money to be
dropped into them is "for the altar of Our Lady
of the Seven Sorrows;" " for the souls in purgatory;"
"for the chapel of Our Lady of the
Rosary" (who seems to have "no connexion
with the other" lady on the opposite side of the
nave); " for the altar of the blessed St. Antony
of Padua," and such-like other necessitous
personages and purposes.

Almost the whole population of the village
and the neighbouring hills is gathered in
and in front of the church. The men wear
blue frieze coats with short square-cut tails,
dark-green velveteen breeches, thick home-knit
woollen stockings, and dust-coloured
buckled shoes. The smarter among them add to
this costume a scarlet waistcoat. The women
have long blue linsey-woolsey gowns, tied round
them immediately below the armpits, and the
square-folded napkin on the head, which especially
marks the female peasant of the Roman
States. But these are the aristocracy of the
congregation. Around the door of the church
are a crowd, of much wilder and rougher
appearanceshepherds from the hills, bare-footed
and bare-legged, and clad in jackets made of the
skins of their flocks, hairy-faced and
shaggy-breasted men, whose only covering is a hempen
shirt, and breeches of the same material; and
women in rags, making no claim to any describable
form or colour. This sort of supplementary
congregation extends far down the street, and a
long line of devotees are kneeling, rank behind
rank, down the middle of it, composed mostly of
women, but tailing off into a party of half-naked,
Murillo-like children, all duly kneeling, with
hands upraised in the attitude of prayer, but
every now and then momentarily withdrawn
from supplication, to administer a punch or a
slap to a neighbour worshipper.

In the midst of all this crowd, on one side of
the great church door, and backed against the
wall of the building, is the temporary stall
of the itinerant vendor of devotional appurtenances.
A few planks on trestles, arranged
into a long counter, and two or three uprights
at either end, support a light penthouse roof,
necessary for protecting the goods and their
proprietor from the sun. The counter is covered
with a coarse white cloth, and displays a variety
of commodities. The dealer is a long, lank,
unwholesome-looking, greasy-parchment-skinned
man, dressed in brown-black habiliments, either
made in humble imitation of the sacristan style,
or from the cast-off spoils of some of his ecclesiastical
friends and patrons. He sits at one end of
his long counter, and his fingers, which seem to
need no supervision from his eyes for the work,
are, with the aid of a pair of pincers, busily
engaged in the manufacture of rosaries out of brass
wire and little wooden beads. The conditions
of the trade require that the articles should be
sold at a very few halfpence each, and that they
should nevertheless afford a profit of more than
cent. per cent.; for, as it may be easily
imagined, this has to be shared with the sacerdotal
shearers of the flock, whose patronage, both as
regards recommendation of his wares and
permission to expose them for sale at the door of
the sacred edifice, is absolutely necessary to his

Truly extraordinary is the variety of
objects which are found to unite the requisite
conditions. Little pewter medals, intrinsically
worth, perhaps, a penny a dozen,
become cheap at a penny a piece when they have
absolutely been blessed by the Pope in
person. And the most curious fact with regard
to these much-coveted talismans, which are sold
by thousands to the peasantry, is that, for the
most part, they really have been blessed as
warranted. In irreverent heretic minds the
suspicion would arise that it would be found easier
and just as effective to say that they had been
blessed. But the little bits of pewter actually
have been blessed by the Sovereign Pontiff.
Then there are abundance of little crucifixes
cast in mixed metal of various colours: an
article of which more particulars might in
all probability be heard at Birmingham. Vile
woodcuts, some coarsely daubed with paint,
representing some saint with a hatchet sticking
in his skull, or the naked bodies of half
a dozen men and women standing in sheets
of flame up to the middle, or the Madonna
appearing in gorgeous coloured raiment to some
favoured worshipper, contribute largely to the
stock in trade. Rosaries are a great article. The
most costly objects consist of little waxen dolls
reclining on beds of white wool in glass-topped boxes
surmounted by a cross; ornamented metal
holy-water vases for hanging up at the bed head;
and larger crucifixes for nailing as charms against
the house door. Then there is the literature,
of which one little book I buy is
a choice specimen. And for all these articles
notwithstanding the payments at the
placard-covered house at the opposite end of the
village, notwithstanding the numerous
begging-boxes inside the church, and notwithstanding
bare feet, bare legs, and very poorly
furnished cupboards at homethere is a brisk

Such was the sort of scene which was going
on when and where I bought " A BOOK," the
existence of which I humbly think it wholesome
that some in England should know of.

My book is entitled, "Copy of a Prayer
found in the Sepulchre of our Lord in
Jerusalem." It is printed at Rome "by superior
permission," but without date. It is a
misnomer to call it a prayerwhich it is not, in
any sense. A few lines of preface state that it
was preservedafter having been found at
Jerusalem, it is to be supposed— " by his Holiness
and by Charles the Fifth in their oratories, in
boxes of silver." The author seems to consider
the present pontiff and Charles the Fifth
contemporaries; but this is, probably, only a slip of
the pen.

The work opens thus. " Saint Elizabeth,