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blue gunbrellas, as the returning vehicles passed each other, racing by, or drove sociably side by side. Carriages and gigs lined the road, and even butchers' and bakers' carts were pressed into the service; but the most commodious of the vehicles were the great six-horse omnibuses and diligences which later in the season ply to and from les Eaux. These were loaded inside and out, but with very different cargoes from the pale invalids or busy commercial people whom they later in the year convey to the mountains. We saw as many as thirty people squeezed into one of the pic-nic or fair carriages which are so common in France.
The impression left on the mind by the scene was that of the extreme respectability and good temper of the crowd. Whatever may have taken place later in the cafés, neither drunkenness nor quarreling was to be seen during these days of pleasuring.
Thursday's masquerade was the principal event of Easter week. It is an annual representation got up by the public-spirited gentlemen of Pau, headed by the generous and witty Comte de Barrante. The money collected, or rather that part of it which remains after paying some of the expenses, is devoted to the poor of Pau, to whom it is judiciously distributed by the Bureau de Bienfaisance. We suspect, however, that Jean qui rit (a little local facetious paper) is right in saying that les pauvres sont l'accessoire only on these occasions; the principal end being the amusement of the visitors and residents at Pau, and the gratification of the poor through their eyes as well as through their pockets. Were it otherwise, the poor would be more directly and certainly benefited by a collection made by those gentlemen, who so generously assist with their money as well as by their trouble, in preparing this procession. It would certainly have been so on this occasion, for the expenses greatly exceeded the receipts.
The cavalcade assembled about ten o'clock in the Market-square, and was nearly an hour getting into order. The town presented a very animated appearance. In every direction one saw stray masqueraders scurrying to meet their troops, or going in search of some absent member of the cavalcade. Here was a Crusader careering madly up the narrow Rue Tran, while the Rue des Cordeliers, instead of being peopled by the pious monks, whom its name suggests, was rendered almost impassable by the crowd of shy, bewildered, newly-caught mountaineers in costume, who were being escorted to the rendez-vous by Bacchus, merry negroes, and Mandarins. At last all assembled, and were arranged in order by the indefatigable commissaires. The procession set off on its seven hours quête through the town, preceded by an escort of gendarmes. The impression of official solemnity given by this escort was lessened by the close neighbourhood of Charlatan and his equipage, he turning into ridicule, en route, the giant gendarmes by whom he was preceded, and the sapeurs, tambours, and regimental brass band, who immediately followed him.
The next group in order was the cortège which bore the banner of the town of Pau, followed by the commissaires, (military and civil) of the fête, in a Voiture en poste à la Daumon. On the municipal flag figures brilliant representations of the ancient arms of Pau, which were also carved on a wooden escutcheon carried by one of the municipal authorities. These arms are as ancient as the town and château of Pau, which date from the tenth century. The founder is not known ; but the story runs thus:-At that period the inhabitants of the Val d' Ossan conceded to the then Viscomte de Béarn, for the purpose of building a château, a piece of ground situated at the western extremity of the existing town. In order to fix the limits of the concession, three stakes (pali) were planted. From this circumstance the château, and indirectly the town, derived the name of Pau, which is patois for pilu. (Pal-stake.) This tradition is confirmed by the nature of the heraldic arms of the place, which were granted to the sheriffs of Pau in 1482, by Gaston XI. They consist of three stakes, on the centre one of which is perched a peacock with spread tail. Two cows stand under a beam which crosses these three stakes. In 1828 a tortoise shell was added to these arms by permission of Charles X., in remembrance of the cradle of Henri IV. Below the escutcheon are the words, Urbis Palladium et Gentis.
Among the remaining most striking features in the long masquerading procession was an African group, very well got up in scanty but gaudy war costumes ; a large car was surmounted by the four Seasons:-Spring, a youth covered with real budding branches, violets, and periwinkles ; another youth represented Summer by a profusion of roses which be held ; Autumn was a middle-aged man reclining on corn sheaves, sickle in hand; while a chilly shivering figure dressed in furs personated Winter.
A first-rate mandarin was accompanied by his escort, who carried his state palankeen.
One large car was devoted to the coffer which received from time to time the contents of the long purses carried by the Quêteurs on horseback and foot, and which they were able to put up even into the windows of the houses, by an ingenious arrangement of slinging them from the top to the bottom of long poles ; the money dropped into the open mouth of the purse at one end of the pole, sliding quite down to the other, through a long calico tube. The Quêteurs mingled jokes and exorbitant requests with playful reproaches, which provoked much mirth as they poked their yawning purses into the faces of the by-standers.
Perhaps the prettiest group of all, was that of Ossalois shepherds and shepherdesses, the former in their national costume, enormous brown berêts, red jackets, white waistcoats, and the legs encased in breeches made of rich brown native cloth and knitted gaiters of the same colour, fanning out over the instep in the peculiarly graceful style of the Ossalois pattern. In this costume, their long hair falling over their shoulders, and with their shy almost frightened looks, they formed a striking contrast to the jovial masquerading crew by which they were surrounded. They danced their national dances as the procession slowly paraded the town, but seemed as they performed their mountain quadrilles and jigs, almost bewildered by the music and pomp attending them. Ossalois guides in the same costume rode behind.
Then came a four-in-hand, driven by supplicating Quêteurs in historical dresses.
The only female figure was a Roman lady in her car.
Le Sieur de Framboisy, of grotesque and antique renown, was in a chronic state of bidding the spectators adieu, as he left for the Crusades, keeping up his own and his friends' spirits on the occasion by his pealing laugh and parting jests. He was escorted by his écuyers, négrillons, and chasses-mouches.
A bloated Bacchus was surrounded by his Bacchanals, the Queen of Bacchantes, Fauns, Sylvains and Satyrs, while Silenus preceded his jovial son riding on a donkey.
The military band, mounted trumpeters, and the municipal music, played by turns.
A tall factory chimney towered from one car representing industry, while grouped around were emblems of the arts, the press, chemistry, steam-power, &c., &c.
The quaint ungarnished uniform of a troop of Lansquenets, something between that of firemen and lancers, contrasted well with the showy dresses which crowded the historic car. This, the most pretentious, was on the whole the most successful of the masquerading vehicles, la pièce capitale du cortège, as the little local paper described it, fort bien traitée, grandiose, et majestueuse dans ses ornements.
Various gentlemen glittering in gold, silver, blue and pink satin, and violet velvet, personated les gentilshommes of different epochs in French history, from the quaint dress of Charles Quint's court, and the ostentatious costume of the time of François I., to the plain but rich velvet suits of Henri IV. This last monarch, the hero of Béarn, (with whose name almost everything historical in this part of France is connected, and around whose memory circles everything of interest, so much so that one becomes almost tired of his name,) was represented by the Comte de Barrante, an illegitimate son of Ferdinand VII. of Spain. His prononcé and characteristic features curiously resemble those given in the portraits of Henri IV., while the costume of that period, black velvet dress, high-peaked felt hat, point-lace collar, and long boots, singularly become him. Like the good king himself, Monsieur de Barrante is, and deservedly, a popular local hero. He went on foot from house to house and from person to person, presenting his embroidered purse, the filling of which he ensured by neatly-turned compliments and pathetic appeals. Monsieur de Barrante's improvisations and racy humour fascinate and astonish in the salons of Pau. His sleepy vivacity savours much of his mixed French and Spanish origin, and his brilliant conversation, interspersed as it is with impromptu jests and jeux-de-mots, is something quite unique. He
is the very soul and genius of this and every movement which has for its object the entertainment of his townspeople of whatever rank, and is, with reason, the idol of the people. He was thronged by the populace, the children, mes enfans as he calls them, clinging unrebuked to his black silk hose and velvet breeches, as he sped from street to street unable to keep up with the procession, winning his way and winning alms by his bright smiles and gracious bearing.
The comic part of the masquerade consisted of men representing turkeys and fowls imprisoned in coops. It certainly required a good deal of imagination to suppose oneself in a poultry-yard when surrounded by these apparitions! Their principal claim to their name of Volières de Dindons et leurs Poulaillers resided in the red combs cresting their heads, which poked up out of boxes, barred across to represent the wicker-work of hen-coops. Early in the day was heard the crowing of cocks and gobbling of turkeys; towards the end of the monotonous promenade, however, conversation and cigars prevailed in the coops.
It was a long wearying day for the performers, especially with the prospect of a second representation at night by torch-light. By one o'clock they seemed as glad of the half-hour's halte in the Place Napoléon, as of the refreshment provided for them there. The Place, which has boulevards on three sides and barracks on the fourth, presented an animated coup d'ail. It was peopled with masqueraders, soldiers, and spectators, all mixing sociably while the former refreshed themselves with food and wine under the trees on the boulevards. Here was Bacchus to be seen appropriately employed in emptying a bumper with his friend the Chinese mandarin, while the sappers and miners were good-naturedly patronizing the primitive mountaineers, and plying them with the wine they had so well earned. Very tired they looked of showing themselves off for three long hours !
Henri IV. was condescendingly occupied in extricating one of his turkey subjects from his coop, and in giving leave to the postilions dressed à l'ancienne mode to deposit their wigs on their driving boxes while they rested and refreshed themselves.
It had been decided that during this breathing time the official jury should in the Place Napoléon distribute the prizes for Dressage or training of horses. The Inspector General of the Haras, or Government nursery for horses here, presided, surrounded by his grooms in scarlet coats and mounted. This happy arrangement added to the animation of the already picturesque and bizarre spectacle of the cavalcade en repos.
Rested and refreshed, the masqueraders once more fell into marching order, and set out on their way. The luncheon had worked wonders, and the procession went more merrily than in the forenoon. Less pomp was kept up, except by the squadrons of gendarmes, who headed the cavalcade and brought up the rear. These gigantic guardians of the peace never relaxed even into a smile, and turned a deaf ear to the unceasing chaff of the by-standers, who gladly availed themselves of the temporary excitement and confusion to take liberties not usually allowable with the powers that be. Their solemnity added greatly to the general effect, and formed a good foil to the comicality of the rest of the exhibition. The gendarmes too seemed not to be liable to fatigue; for towards evening, as Spring nodded among his violets, Winter positively snored, sappers and miners flagged, crusaders loitered on the road as if already weary of the holy cause, and the turkeys took to croaking as being less tiring than gobbling, the gendarmes rode on erect and stately, a tacit reproach to the hilarious as well as to the sleepy members of the masquerade.
Notwithstanding the fatigue of the long dawdling march, the hot sun, and the plentiful supply of wine, not one instance, as far as we know, of drunkenness or serious misbehaviour occurred either during this or the evening promenade. A boy was severely punished last year for stealing some sous from a purse on the oecasion of this masquerade, which in 1865 took place on Ash Wednesday, simultaneously with the annual pilgrimage of Pauites to Bizanos, a neighbouring hamlet, which from time immemorial has somewhat inappropriately held its yearly fête on this singularly chosen day. It is then the custom to pelt the cheerful pilgrims with maize, oranges, and flowers-a miniature, in short, of the Carnival proceedings at Rome.
The evening promenade by torch-light on this Easter Thursday commenced amid loud detonations at half-past six, and wended its luminous
way from the Porte Neuve to the Préfèt's house, which was illuminated, and in front of which Bengal lights were burned while he was serenaded by the brass band. Thence the procession went to the Place Gramont, where masqueraders and military formed a square. Each car burnt Bengal lights, rockets were sent up, and the band played. The cavalcade proceeded after a long pause through all the principal streets, ending in the large Market-square, which was flooded with the yellow glare of a powerful electric light, which gave to the bizarre crowd an almost unearthly appearance. At eight o'clock the masqueraders defiled under the arcades of the Market House, and disappeared with their flickering torches into its dark recesses.
Not content with this really hard day's pleasuring, crowds flocked in the evening to the pretty little opera house.
Others attended an equestrian representation at the cirque.
Les Courses on Friday only differed from the preceding races in the excitement occasioned by the winning of the Ladies' Prize, a handsome piece of plate, by Mr. Power, an American gentleman resident here.
The Chemin de Fer du Midi also gave a prize of six hundred francs.
A storm threatened all day, but only a few drops of rain fell during the races, and Friday successfully terminated the three days Fêtes de la Société hippique locale. This society is, we believe, with one exception the longest established society of the kind in France. It has been in existence for twenty-eight years, so that the jockey club only is its senior,