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dividing his army-cassock in two, and that in
winter time, to share it with a naked and
shivering wretch. But that is not the story
which concerns us now. Somewhere about
the year of grace three hundred and eighty-
six, Saint Martin, on his travels through Gaul,
happened to arrive one evening at Dunkerque,
or rather, at the spot on which Dunkerque
stands. He proceeded leisurely on donkey-
back, in consequence of the wounds he had
formerly received; but, without that very
reasonable excuse, he assuredly had a right
to make use of a donkey, while out on his
missionary enterprise. Saint Martin, it is
said, stopped at a little chapel near the
Dunes, and left his ass waiting at the gate.
There are doubts whether such a chapel
existed then, but we will not stop to discuss
the anachronism. Saint Martin entered some
chapel or house. While he was saying his
prayers within-doors, the animal strayed
away to search for the prickly eringo, or sea-
holly, which had caused his mouth to water
along the road. But his master, missing
him, and not approving his taking French
leave, begged the neighbouring fishermen to
lend their aid to recover him. The worthy
fellows started at once, regardless of its being
night: some, with resin torches in their hands:
some, with the lanterns belonging to their
fishing-boats; while others blew the horn
which still announces the arrival of a boat at
the beach, and which may be made to give
a not bad imitation of a donkey's bray when
it tries to sing small. At last the gluttonous
ass was found and brought back to the village
under the escort of a troop of children who,
as they travelled along the road, were treated
by Saint Martin's intervention and the
donkey's keep, with an unexpected supply of
exquisite spice bread.

In modern times, on the evening of Saint
Martin's day at Dunkerqueand at
Dunkerque onlythe whole population claims the
privilege of going mad from five o'clock till
seven, in commemoration of the finding of
Saint Martin's ass. The next day, at the
same hour, a second paroxysm returns; and
then the town remains sane for a twelve-
month. The professed actors in the farce
are all the children of the place, little and
big, boys and girls, from babies at the breast
to overgrown boarding-school masters and
misses. But as the youngsters do not turn
out alone, and the old folks enjoy the fun as
thoroughly as their juniors, it is hardly an
exaggeration to say that the whole city makes
a good-natured fool of itself. As the school-
master boasted that he governed the parish
because he governed the children, who
governed the mothers, who governed the
fathers, who governed the servants; so,
St. Martin may assert that he converts the
great body of Dunkerque folk into temporary
lunatics. Fancy the streets crowded with
children, from three to a hundred-and-eighty
months old, and every one of them carrying
in his hand a paper lamp of some fashion.
Flowers of all colours and shapes, churches,
houses, and fantastical figures, are illuminated
by a candle's-end that is stuck on a save-all
at the extremity of a stick. The usual gas-
lights are perfectly unnecessary; for the rays
sent forth by the thousands of lanterns
produce a brilliant substitute; and by way of
musical accompaniment to the scene, there
are hundreds of penny trumpets, which are
expressly prepared for this occasion only.

As soon as the juvenile orgy begins, no
carriage is permitted to pass through the
streets; nor could it, without committing a
Juggernautian slaughter of innocents. The
crowd, which eddies and flows in all directions,
treads so closely and compactly on one
another's heels, that a pin could not fall to
the ground between them. It is one of the
many things of which it may be truly observed,
that to be believed, it must be seen, and heard.

But as all the principal performers are
children, and as children go to bed at an early
hour, at seven o'clock the throng begins to
thin; at half-past seven, it is thoroughly
ashamed of itself; at eight the town is as
sober as usual. The gas is lighted, the
vehicles roll along, and the young rogues munch
their croquandoules, or donkey-nuts, while
they undress themselves and jump into bed.

Some years since the Due de Nemours
happened to come to Dunkerque on Saint
Martin's day. Unlike the Turkish ambassador,
who believed that London was lighted with
gas in honour of his own dazzling presence,
the less confident prince took it into his head
that he was being treated to the peculiar
mode of insult which is known in France as
a charivari. He soon, however, discovered
his mistake, and enjoyed the joke, like a man
of sense.



WHEN Mary Queen of Scots arrived in
England, without money and even without
any other clothes than those she wore, she
wrote to Elizabeth, representing herself as an
innocent and injured piece of Royalty, and
entreating her assistance to oblige her
Scottish subjects to take her back again and
obey her. But, as her character was already
known in England to be a very different one
from what she made it out to be, she was
told in answer that she must first clear
herself. Made uneasy by this condition,
Mary, rather than stay in England, would
have gone to Spain, or to France, or would
even have gone back to Scotland. But, as
her doing either would have been likely to
trouble England afresh, it was decided that
she should be detained here. She first
came to Carlisle, and, after that, was moved
about from castle to castle, as was
considered necessary; but England she never
left again.

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