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OBJECTS IN THE CHURCHES.
this or that miracle or relic than that they were brought up in it — that their father believed before them, and that is enough for them.
This is the sort of scene which Catholic churches generally present ; and though this assemblage of slavish superstition and beggary is ill-assorted with the pomp of the ceremonies and the grandeur of the buildings, it perhaps, on the whole, heightens the strong 'undefinable and mixed impression which a Catholic Church never fails to make on a stranger. The contrast of sublimity and wretchedness, of pomp and meanness, is very striking. Without the slightest feeling of intolerance for these multitudes, they present to one the touching spectacle of so many victims of error, deluded by the gaudy ceremonies of a spiritless worship. All that is poetical, solemn, and impressive in religious rites, seems here abused to the purpose of riveting the chains of ignorance, and gilding folly and darkness with the brightest illusions. The pealings of the organ, the voices of the choir, the triumphs of the arts, appear not so much employed to
elevate the devotions of beings capable of feeling them, as to produce ignorant awe in the multitude, and to clothe a delusive farce with imposing stage effect.
The Priests of the Catholic churches, in Germany and the Netherlands, with whom I have formed acquaintance, I have in general found heavy, besotted, beings; who drudge on in their calling, selfish, grumbling, and without a spark of intellectual life beyond a low cunning, if that can be called so.
One of the number, whose abode I will not mention, was a lively exception to the animal stupidity of this character. He lived in a little shabby house, leaning against the buttresses of the cathedral. To see the Reverend man at the altar, his demure face suited to his canonicals, and
going through the solemn pantomime with a pompous gravity, you would have thought him the very saint of orthodoxy - but in his parlour we found him the gayest of wags, the most lax of theologians, and one of the most entertaining and easy fellows we
ever met with. The arch leer of his eye seemed to confess him too knowing for his blind vocation
and that a joke, or a pretty girl, were as much in estimation with him as a father or a tenet. He ordered out a bottle of his best ale, which was served up by a very pretty housekeeper --- and when a German friend joked him on his interesting companion, he put on a half-sly, half-sanctified look, turning indifferently to another subject, as if his reputation on such a matter was not the precise point on which he was most desirous of standing clear with
His conversation was interlarded with scraps of Monkish Latin, sometimes mystical, sometimes bordering on indecorum
- and when our English pronunciation of the vowels was spoken of as being different from that of the rest of Europe, he accounted for it with a chuckling smile“ Ah, that was only a trick of the Reformers
before their time you pronounced them like other people, but they wished to keep the common people in the dark, and so they altered the sound of the vowels, that they might not understand their own language!" I could not help smiling at the worthy Catholic's satisfaction, with his whimsical
AND ZEALOUS CICERONI.
theory, so strictly borrowed from the tactics of his own church.
Our Reverend guide left us to prepare for the salut -- but anxious that we should have a good view of the little image of Our Saviour, used at the service, which he assured us was solid gold, he placed us in a corner of the choir opposite the altar, promising when he held it up to the congregation, to hold it before us long enough to ensure a full inspection. When he marched solemnly up to the altar, with the two other Priests, he turned his eye to the appointed rendezvous and recognised us with a familiar nod and wink. His occupation in his sacred office did not make him forget his promise; and when the organ was sounding, the bells ringing, the incense fuming, and the priest held up the image to the gazing multitude, with an air of fervent piety, he turned it round to us, and held it for some seconds, eyeing us with a look that meant to ask what we thought of it. The image was small and what such images usually are, except that it was of solid gold
but the manner in which the priest thus
THE HOTEL DE VILLE.'.
mixed up his office of ciceroni with his holy functions struck us as very curious. While the admiring crowds thought him rapt in the solemnity of his office, he was making an arrangement for the gratification of a 'traveller's curiosity with the hope of increasing his fee a few francs by his zeal. Lest we might not be at home in the etiquette of accompanying our douceurs with the phrase " pour les pauvres," which the delicacy of a Catholic Priest cannot resist, our shrewd friend gave us some very explicit hints — “ Pour moi tout ce que je fais c'est pour les pauvres-vous savez bien-il faut absolument soigner les pauvres — nous
nous en avons tant." These hints were not lost upon us; and when we pressed a few francs into his hand we did not omit the talismanic words which enabled him to receive our money with as unembarrassed a dignity as if he had literally intended every sou, pour
pauvres. The lofty Hotel de Ville, with its antique minarets, and its roof studded with diminutive windows, crowns with a venerable dignity, the Grande Place of the town a bustling square, adorned by an immense