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sheds tears of sensibility on the victory gained by the daughter of his son, placed by her side, receives, in effect, the reward of sixty years, spent in a life of virtue.
By this means, emulation becomes general, for the honour of the whole ; every one dreads by an indelicate action, to dethrone either his sister or his daughter. The Crown of Roses, promised to the most prudent, is expected with emotion, distributed with justice, and establishes goodness, rectitude, and morality, in every family; it attaches the best people to the most peaceful residence.
Example, powerful example, acts even at a distance; there, the bud of worthy actions is unfolded, and the traveller, in approach ng this territory, perceives, before he enters it, that he is not far from Salency. In the course of so many successive ages, all around them has changed; they alone will hand down to their children the pure inheritance they received from their fathers : an institution truly great, from its simplicity ; powerful, under an appearance of weakness ; such is the almost unknown influence of honours; such is the strength of that easy spring, by which all men may be governed : sow honour, and you
will reap virtue. If we reflect upon the time the Salencians have celebrated this festival, it is the most ancient ceremony existing. If we attend to its objects, it is, perhaps, the only one which is dedicated to the service of virtue. If virtue is the most useful and estimable advantage to society in general, this establishment, by which it is encouraged, is a public national benefit, and belongs to France.
According to a tradition, handed down from age to age, Saint Medrad, born at Salency, proprietor, rather than Lord, of the territory of Salency (for there were no fiefs at that time) was the institutor of that charming festival which has made virtue flourish for so many ages. He had himself the pleasing consolation of enjoying the fruit of his wisdom, and his family was honoured with the prize which he had instituted, for his sister obtained the Crown of Roses.
This affecting and valuable festival has been handed down from the fifth century to the present day. To this Rose is attached a purity of morals, which, from time immemorial, has never suffered the slightest blemish ; to this Rose are attached the happiness, peace, and glory of the Salencians.
This Rose is the portion, frequently the only portion which virtue brings with it; this Rose forms the amiable and pleasing tie of a happy marriage. Even fortuue is anxious to obtain it, and comes with respect, to receive it from the hand of honourable indigence. A possession of twelve hundred years, in such splendid advantages, is the fairest title that exists in the world.
An important period for the festival of the Rose was, when Louis the XIII. sent the Marquis de Gordes the Captain of his
guards, from the Castle of Varennes to Salency, with a blue ribbon, and a silver ring, to be presented from him to the Queen of the Rose. It is from that honourable epocha that a blue ribbon, flowing in streamers, surrounds the Crown of Roses ; that a ring is fastened to it, and the young girls of her train wear over their white robes a ue ribbon, in the manner of a scarf.
In 1766, Mr. Morfontaine settled a yearly income of one hundred and twenty livres upon the girl then elected Queen. The income to be enjoyed by her during life, and after her death each succeeding girl who should be crowned Queen, to have her year's income on the day of her election. This noble generosity can only be rewarded by the homage of the public, and honour alone is the worthy recompence.
Some days before the feast of Saint Madard, the inhabitants assemble in presence of the Officers of Justice, where this worthy company
upon the important business of making a choice; in doing which they have no object in view but equity. They know all the merits that give a title to the Crown; they are acquainted with all the domestic details of their peaceful village; they have not, nor cannot have, any other intention, but to be just : enthusiasm and respect for the memory of the holy Institutor, and the excellence of the institution, are still in full force among them. They name three girls, three virtuous Salencians, of the most esteemed and respectable families.
The nomination is immediately carried to the Lord of Salency, or to the person appointed to represent him, who is free to decide between the three girls, but obliged to choose one of them, whom he proclaims Queen for the year.
Eight days before the ceremony, the name of the successful candidate is declared in church.
When the great day of the festival arrives, which is always the eighth of June, the Lord of Salency may claim the honour of conducting the Queen to be crowned. On that grand day, she is greater than all by whom she is surrounded ; and that greatness is of a nature which has nothing in common with the usual distinctions of rank.
The Lord of Salency has the privilege of going to take virtue from her cottage, and lead her in triumph. Leaning upon his arm, or the arm of the person whom he has substituted in his place, the Queen steps forth from her simple dwelling, escorted by twelve young girls, dressed in white, with blue scarfs ; and twelve youths, who wear the livery of the Queen ; she is preceded by music and drums, which announce the beginning of the procession she passes along the streets of the village, between rows of spectators, whom the festival had drawn to Salency, from the distance of four leagues. The public admire and applaud her; the mothers shed tears of joy; the old men renew their strength to follow their beloved Queen, and compare her with those whom they have seen in their youth. The Salencians are proud of the merits of her to whom they give the Crown ; she is one of themselves, she belongs to them, she reigns by their choice, she reigns alone, and is the only object of attention.
The Queen, being arrived at the church, the place appointed for her is always in the midst of the people, the only situation that could do her honour ; where she is, there is no longer any distinction of rank, it all vanishes in the presence of virtue. A pew - is placed in the middle of the Choir, in sight of all the people, prepared to receive her: her train range themselves in two lines by her side ; she is the only object of the day, all eyes remain fixed upon her, and her triumph continues.
After Vespers the procession begins again; the Clergy lead the way, the Lord of Salency receives her hand, her train join, the people follow, and line the streets, while some of the inhabitants, under arms, support the two rows, offering their homage by the loudest acclamations, until she arrives at the chapel of St. Medard, where the gates are kept open : the good Salencians do not forsake their Queen at the instant when the reward of virtue is going to be delivered ; it is at that moment in particular, that it is pleasing to see her, and honourable for her to be seen.
The officiating Clergyman blesses the Hat, decorated with Roses, and its other ornaments : then turning toward the assembly, he pronounces a discourse on the subject of the festival. What an affecting gravity, what an awful impression does the language of the Priest (who in such a moment celebrates the praises of Wisdom) make upon the minds of his hearers ! He holds the Crown in his hand, while Virtue waits kneeling at his
all the spectators are affected, tears in every eye, persuasion in every heart; then is the moment of lasting impressions ; and at that instant he places the Crown upon her head.
After this begins a Te Deum. during which the procession is resumed.
The Queen, with the Crown upon her head, and attended in the same manner as she was when going to receive it, returns the way she came ; her triumph still increasing as she passes along, till she again enters the church, and occupies the same place in the middle of the Choir, till the end of the service.
She has new homage to receive, and, going forth, is attended to a particular piece of ground, where crowned Innocence finds expecting vassals prepared to offer her presents. They are simple gifts, but their simplicity proves the antiquity of the custom ; a nosegay of flowers, a dart, two balls, &c. &c.
From thence she is conducted, with the same pomp, and led back to her relations, and, in her own house, if she thinks proper, gives a rural collation to her conductor and her retinue.
This festival is of a singular kind, of which there is no model elsewhere. It is intended to encourage wisdom, by bestowing public honour, and for such a purpose they ought to be boundless. Where Virtue reigns there is no rival, and whoever wishes for distinction in her presence, cannot be sufficiently sensible of what is due to her triumph.
The distinguishing characteristic of this festival is, that every part of it is referable to the Queen, that every thing is eclipsed by her presence ; her splendour is direct, not reflected; her glory borrows nothing from distinctions of rank; she has no need of any one to make her great and respectable ; in one word, it is the image of virtue which shines, and every thing disappears before her.
The Pastor is as respectable as his flock is pure. By shewing himself the protector of a festival which preserves the morals of the people from the general contagion, he performs the only character that is suitable to him. It is pleasing to have men to govern, who are upright, simple, and industrious; happy in their mediocrity, peaceable in their mutual dealings, of whom there is no example of “a single person” having been carried before a Magistrate : men, whose purity has never been stained by a crime, never tarnished by a mean action, never debased by a single condemnation ; men, whose humble dwellings offer to view, in the bosom of active indigence, the virtues of both the sexes united for the common happiness.
A few months ago two gentleman who had been left executors to the will of a friend, on examining into the property left by the testator, found they could not discharge the legacies by some hundreds of pounds; astonished at this circumstance, as the deceased had frequently informed them he should have more than sufficient for that purpose, they made the most diligent search possible among his papers, &c. and found a scrap of paper, on which was written “ seven hundred pounds in Till.” This they took in the literal sense of it; but as their friend had never been in trade, they imagined it singular he should keep such a sum of money in a Till; however they examined all his apartments carefully, but in vain, and after repeated attempts to discover it, gave over the search. They sold his library of books to a bookseller, and paid the legacies in proportion. The singularity of the circumstance occasioned them frequently to converse about it, and they recollected among the books sold (which had taken place upwards of seven weeks before) there was a folio edition of Tillotson's Sermons. The probability of this being what was alluded to by the word “ Till" on the piece of paper, made one of them immediately wait upon the person who had purchased the books, and ask him if he had the edition of Tillotson which had been among the books sold to him ; on his reply in the affirmative, and the volumes being handed down, the gentleman immediately purchased them, and on carefully examining the leaves, found bank notes, singly dispersed in various places of the volumes, to the amount of seven hundred pounds !~But what is perhaps no less remarkable than the preceding, the bookseller informed him that a gentleman at Cambridge, reading in his catalogue of his edition to be sold, had written to him,
and desired it might be sent to Cambridge, which was accordingly done; but the books not answering the gentleman's expectations, had been returned ; and had been in the bookseller's shop till the period of this very singular discovery.
Women in their nature are much more gay and joyous than men; whether it be that their blood is more refined, their fibres more delicate, and their animal spirits more light and volatile : or whether, as some have imagined, there may not be a kind of sex in the very soul, I shall not pretend to determine. As vivacity is