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rustic village-fair and rural Welsh Derby- | America's choicest homes, in town day. There are races, by horses from the neighborhood and unknown to fame, for little prizes of £2 and the like. The most important tents upon the ground are tents for beer, and they bear signs which show them to be offshoots of the public-houses in the village, as "The Bear," "The Cross Keys," "The White Lion," etc. Other tents are devoted to booths for petty gambling, and for the sale of lollipops, fruits, cakes, toys, shrimps, cockles, and an innocuous red beverage all fizz and sputter. There are also many donkey-carts, laden with black cherries, hazel-nuts, and such. small deer. A small brass band is playing a brisk tune, and I penetrate through a circle of rustics to find a few couples of men and women dancing on the greensward. The women clutch their partners firmly, one arm about the man's waist and the other on his shoulder. The dance is a queer sort of quadrille, the like of which I have not seen before, in which there is much of individual and unsupported whirling on the part of the women, and of solemn leg-lifting (like a serious can-can) on the part of the men, but of the men only; and which breaks periodically into a romping waltz, in which the couples go prancing madly over whole rods of greensward, and come back panting and disheveled, to resume the balancing, the leg-lifting, and the whirling as before. With all this, there is great solemnity of demeanor, as of people with their duty to do,-a solemnity more befitting a religious rite than a merry-making, and a vigor which causes every dancer to sweat profusely, though the day is a cool one. It is, indeed, one of those lovely September days which seem the perfection of summer weather in this fair land of Wales, and with their balmy air, soft sunshine, and delicious breezes recall the afternoons of an American June.

country. An American race-track, however small it may be, however remote from any large town, never gives you this pleasant sense of being out in the country; there is always such a lot of ugly board-fencing and shanties, and the like. Here there are no shanties-tents instead; and there is no fence, the field being merely guarded by half a dozen policemen, who watch the surrounding hedges vigilantly, and if any Twn or Dewi tries to steal in and save his sixpence, under or over a hedge, he is collared on the spot.

The racing is indeed rather an episode than a raison d'être of this festal gathering. Yet I note, when I chance to notice it at all, that the racing is full of vigor, and horses and riders are very much in earnest. The jockeys are lightly clad, and wear gay red or blue flannel caps; but the winner of the race, I observe at this moment when the horses come home, is a big, farmer-looking man in a broad-brimmed straw hat, who wears no colors, but flies a yellow sash from his hand. And now he swings his sash madly in the air, and halloos in great glee over his victory.

Nothing in its way could be more enjoyable than this open air, these free green fields, with hedge-rows all about, and the breezes sweeping full of fresh, life-giving sweetness over the fair downs. On a gently rising ground, back of that part of the ground which is devoted to beer, lollipops, and dancing, where the crowd is thick and the noise is great, a little grassy hill, behind a green hedge-row,-are gathered a few men with spy-glasses, to watch the racing. They stand about in idle attitudes, or lie at ease upon the smooth turf-clean as any well-kept lawn in the fairest door-yard of

The people are mostly farmer-folk and village-folk; not only from the village which sleeps under the castle-walls, but from other villages round about, two or three of which are visible from the highest hill-top. There is a sprinkling of the servants of the neighboring gentry, and of the tradespeople from the sea-port town ten miles away. The day is one of the frequent general holidays which the British Government has of late taken so heartily to fostering-indeed, with such a will that, if this goes on, there will soon be more holidays than working days.

"Try yer strength, sir?" asks a roughlooking, cockneyish person at my elbow, as I pause and look curiously at an image near.

It is an amusing image-nothing less than an enormous jumping-jack, six feet high, with a pudding in his stomach, and bells on his head. The bells are as large and as noisy as tea-bells. The pudding is a cloth pudding, stuffed with some soft stuffing,rags, I suppose,—and it is by striking this pudding in a pugilistic manner that you test your strength. When you hit the pudding a straight blow with your clenched fist, the jumping-jack trembles, the tea-bells ring with an infernal din, and a brass dial on the breast of the image registers certain figures, which show the force and skill of your blow,

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sudden discomfiture of any one standing innocently in the immediate vicinity.

I venture to punch the pudding in the image's stomach, and so set the bells to jingling madly. The result is to draw attention to the image; a cluster gathers about it; the man takes my penny, with a touch of his hat; then he compliments me on my blow, and dexterously uses the feat as a stimulant to the ambition of the men who have gathered. "Britons, strike home!" becomes the spirit of the hour.

"Weer's another gentleman as 'ill hit off twenty-six?" he demands loudly.

Three try. They register no higher figures than fifteen, eighteen, and twenty-one; at which I cannot help being surprised, as I observe their rugged frames and their huge fists, in spite of my knowledge that hard hitting is quite as much a matter of skill as of brawn. And then comes a respectablelooking man, fifty years old in appearance, who strikes a sturdy, full-arm blow on the pudding, and registers twenty-eight. I look

now?" I answer that I should think him perhaps fifty. He lifts his hat and says: "I am sixty-three." I am surprised at this, and say so. "All due to good habits of life," he repeats; "I take care of myself-drink nothing stronger than good ale, always go to bed at an early hour, and wash my breast and limbs every morning in clear cold water. Sixty-three years old, and five feet two inches high."

I ask my new friend if he is a Welsh


"Pure red blood," he answers, again lifting his hat. "You may talk about your blue blood, sir, but I claim to be descended from one of the red-blooded heroes who fought with Ivor Bach-Ivor Bach, sir, the little Welshman no bigger than myself, who lived with his band in those mountains yonder, and for many a year held Castle Coch against all comers. You have heard of Ivor Bach ?" Yes, I had read of him. "I should think so! No more a robber, sir, than the Norman who held that castle,


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whose ruins you see over there, when Edward II. was king."

"Hai! Hab!" There is a shout all over the field, and a movement of the crowd in one direction, like a sea; and then I catch glimpses of three men running in red flannel breeches madly around the course, amid cries of "Go in! go in!" and a like utterance in Welsh, which I do not quite catch, followed by more deliberate observations of "Jack's the winner," "'E 'ave it," etc.; and once more the excitement subsides, and the fair resumes its normal Occupations-dancing, drinking beer, cracking nuts and jokes, scuffling, chaffing, testing one's strength or skill, and gambling. To stir the British mind with emulation; to tickle the British palate with cakes, candies, and curw; to excite the British desire of winning something or other at hazard-these are the aims and purposes of the booth-keepers. At other fairs, in other

parts of the world, there are other aims and purposes at work which have no place whatever at this Welsh pleasure-fairsuch as to amuse for mere amusement's sake, as with Punch-and-Judy shows; to cater to curiosity and a love of the marvelous, as with two-headed calves and living skeletons. Nothing of this kind is here.

The briskest business, it must be conceded, is done at the booths where beer is sold; but the next best, beyond all question, is done by those who cater to the spirit of emulation. I have mentioned the strength-tester, in the shape of a jumping-jack; besides it there are a half-dozen other strength-testers, of a simpler sort, chiefly with levers to try your lifting power. These are well patronized. Here is one, whose proprietor bawls loudly for customers, and who, when a customer comes, utters an exclamation,-always utters it in precisely the same tone,-an exclama

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tion of extreme surprise, to wit: "Hul-lo!" then, quickly, to the crowd around him, "I say! Come an' see fair!" And the British love of fair play is sure to bring a cluster of spectators, first to "see fair," then to compete; so that the strength-tester man thrives, and his pockets grow fat with coppers.

Yonder is a gorgeous edifice, which you fancy to be some sort of a raree-show-waxworks, perhaps, or a fat woman. Not at all. There is literally nothing of the kind here. The edifice you fancied a show proves, on closer observation, to be a shooting-gallery. It is of magnificent aspect, but it is all frontispiece, so to say. It is twelve or fifteen feet high, and proportionately broad. It presents a front which is one mass of golden carvings on a deep red ground, flowers, scrolls, and grinning lions' heads; but behind this imposing front there is no

structure at all-nothing but a wagon, which supports a long cylinder of sheet-iron (twenty feet in length, perhaps, and two in diameter), at the remote end of which is a target. "A penny a shot," says the young woman in charge. She is a rather handsome girl of eighteen or twenty, small and alert, with a vulgar, good-humored face, and a shock of rich brown curling hair; neatly dressed in a calico gown, with a bright ribbon at her throat, but a girl thoroughly bent on business. Many be the shooters, plumping the feathered bullets into the target. The girl's hands are as black as ink could make them, with the grime of the powder with which she incessantly loads the guns; and there is something so indescribably attractive in her business-like but winning ways that the bucolic heart cannot resist it. The rustics shoot as fast as the girl can load, and she gathers in the pennies with a steady rattle.

She never declines a challenge to compete, but brings the gun to her soiled chin, and her half-closed eye to the sight, with a serious steadiness that invariably makes on the target a better mark than her opponents.

Various are the games of chance: some are roulette tables, where the dullest of the bumpkins stake their pennies in silence and lose them in unuttered and unutterable pain. But by far the most popular among the gambling games are those which combine the elements of chance and skill. Of these, one I have not before seen is thus contrived: An iron object, in shape like a toadstool, but flat on top, is stuck in the green

which an absurd face is rudely painted, and atop of which sits a huge red wig of outrageous proportions. In the grinning mouth of Aunt Sally's foolish face is thrust a white clay pipe. Behind this ludicrous old woman is stretched, fence-like, a wide and high strip of soiled canvas. Two or three rods in front of her lies a pile of shillalehs; and these shillalehs the player is expected to throw at her head.

"Three shies a penny, sir," says the rustic in charge, "and thrippence back," he adds, "if ye breaks the poipe."

With a depressing feeling that the eyes of a critical world are on you, you hurl

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sward; the top is just the size of a penny, and upon it are piled twelve pennies, one upon another. A marble is then let for a penny to the player, who snaps the marble with thumb and forefinger against the pile of pennies; if he knocks them off their pedestal they are his. Many are the marbles snapped, but few indeed are they who win. As in all the other games, the chances are fifty to one in favor of the banker.

More familiar is the game of Aunt Sally, which has lately been introduced into America. Aunt Sally is a preposterously ridiculous image of a woman, a scarecrow in figure, but dressed in a calico gown of gaudy hues, and with a wooden head on

three shillalehs in rapid succession at Aunt Sally's head. It is astonishing how many shillalehs you can throw at her without coming within ten feet of her! When she happens to be hit, the horrible image shakes idiotically, her goggle eyes glaring, her red, wig fluttering, her straight-out wooden arms waggling, but her teeth clinging firmly to the pipe. To break it you must hit the pipe itself; nothing less will serve.

Near by is a game without a nameat least its proprietor can tell me none. "If you knocks a nut down, sir, you 'as it; that's the honly name we 'as for it; I never 'eerd o' any other, sir." A dozen cocoa

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