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And when shall shine forth the glory
Of Christ, the Unsetting Sun,
One Lord hath given His children
One faith on His name to call,
One church for the prayers of all.
Though each from his neighbor differs
* Built in the eleventh century
A ROYAL HAIR-CUTTING.
A HAIR-CUTTING, even a royal one, can be no great affair, after all, the reader will suppose; but an Oriental would render quite another verdict. Cutting off the hair is the ceremony observed in many Eastern countries, when a young lady of rank makes her entrée into society, or, in common parlance, comes of age."
During childhood, the hair of Siamese boys and girls is worn coiled in a knot at the foretop of the head, just where phrenologists locate the organs of benevolence and veneration; while at the back it is either shaved, or cut very close to the head. Among wealthy people, the knot is confined by massive gold pins with huge jeweled heads. These serve also to keep in place garlands of natural flowers, that morning and evening are twined, fresh and fragrant, in the glossy, raven hair of the household darling. Everywhere in the East, one meets this intense love of flowers; and the quantity made use of in ordinary life, both for personal adornment and in decorating the homes, would seem incredible to one who had never been among these ardent, beautyloving children of a sunny clime; while never a wedding or a funeral, a social or religious festival takes place, without consuming untold quantities.
The hair of girls is usually cut at ten or eleven years of age, when they are considered marriageable; and from that time, they are even more closely secluded than before.
For boys, the hair-cutting takes place several years later; and is attended with less parade, unless they are designed for the priesthood. In such case, a feast is given to which every male of near kin is invited, presents are made to the priests, and propitiatory and thank-offerings laid on the altars. The young lady to whose haircutting I was invited, was the daughter of the reigning sovereign, and, of course, the ceremony was conducted with much pomp and display. The Princess, though but ten years old, was full-grown, and, according to oriental ideas, marriageable. She was about four feet nine inches high, slender, and beautifully formed, with smooth olive complexion, the loveliest black eyes that sparkled like diamonds, and such a wealth of long, glossy, silken hair, as seemed, when unbound, like a veil, through which her fairy beauty gleamed. It was far too beautiful to sacrifice to a foolish
fashion; but the customs of her country had so decreed; and from the decisions of courtly etiquette, there is, in oriental lands, no appeal.
The little lady was robed in long, flowing garments of silk and lace, confined at the waist by a golden girdle of fabulous value. Besides this, she wore a profusion of costly jewels in the form of ear-rings, brooches and pins, massive gold chains and bracelets, rings, anklets and necklaces-such incredible quantities of weighty adornments, as cumbered every movement. One might almost have imagined her a jeweler's stand, designed for the express purpose of displaying his costly wares. Her long hair, coiled now for the last time in its girlish fashion, was fastened with diamond pins, that gleamed and glittered among the pure white flowers and green leaves, like the pearly drops of morning dew that had decked them on their native stems. The youthful Princess looked very gentle and lady-like, graceful as a gazelle, but painfully timid in all her movements, as well she might be, poor, little, frightened dove-all her brief, ten-year life having been spent in the strictest seclusion. She had never once been outside the walls of the stately palace where she was born; and knew nothing of the world, save as it existed within the charmed precincts of that royal Harem. She had not even, since completing her third year, seen a man, with the solitary exception of her royal father. Even now, in all that vast assemblage, there was only one more pair of male eyes where they could by any possibility rest upon this beautiful, flower of the harem." The Buddhist priest, who was there to officiate in this important ceremony, had of necessity to be admitted to the presence of the young Princess; but he, under the immediate surveillance of his sovereign, would scarcely dare to violate his priestly vows, by so much as a glance at the youthful beauty.
Thousands of persons, princes and princesses, ministers of State, and dignitaries of all sorts, thronged those gilded halls; but running clear across, were close screens of heavy silk, dividing the male and female portions of the assembly, as effectually as walls of marble or iron could have done. The ceremony was performed; on the side appropriated to the ladies, and it could not, of course, be witnessed by
man's side, His Majesty only passing into the inner saloon, where he was seated on a raised dais at the upper end of the apartment. Near him, on the left hand, (the post of honor among Orientals,) was the yellow-robed Buddhist. priest, holding before his face the long-handled clerical fan that was to prevent his sacred countenance from being polluted with any thing unclean.
the other sex; but all participated in the feasting and recreations that followed-the ladies and gentlemen still occupying separate apartments. The English and American residents had all received invitations to the banquet, and the ladies of our party were cordially welcomed to the inner saloon, where carpets and velvet cushions were laid for them, in immediate proximity to the place his Majesty was to occupy.especially this host of beautiful women, to glance at whom, ever so slightly, would be deemed a violation of the sanctity of his office. Immediately in front of his Majesty, and a step below him, was placed a cushion of crimson velvet, richly embroidered with emeralds and seed-pearls, and edged with heavy gold lace. By its side were a golden basin, filled with rose-water, a pair of scissors, and two dwarf-trees growing in pots-one the "gold-plant," and the other, the "silver-leaf;" and over the whole, was an arch formed of the same choice shrubs, intermingled with fragrant flowers. Presently there was a sign made by the King, simply the turning of a ring on his finger-a sign scarcely noted by the uninitiated, but, evidently, well-understood by those courtly ladies, who, when in the royal presence, never for a moment, suffer either eyes or thoughts to wander to any subject of inferior moment, that they may be always ready to obey the faintest nod or beck that conveys an intimation of the regal despot's pleasure. My mind at once recalled the words of the royal Psalmist : "As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God." How beautiful the synonym of the Christian watching, waiting for the first sign or token of his Lord's will, and ready instantly to follow where He shall appoint or lead. At the "sign" mentioned, a lady noiselessly made her exit, backing out from the royal presence, and, almost instantly, the young Princess, who also was waiting and watching for the royal signal, entered, escorted by her maidens, some two hundred in number. These crouched in reverent attitude, about her, while she was seated on the crimson cushion beneath the arch. Both she and her attendants bowed gracefully before the King, in three courtly, oriental salams, and then all sat with bowed heads awaiting the ceremony. They were all crowned with flowers; and looked, with their demure faces and reverent attitude, like a company of fair priestesses before
There was a large door in the silken
the altar of their god. From the moment
This money always constitutes, in part, at least, the marriage dower of the lady when she becomes a wife; or a snug little income for her maintenance, should she be consigned to single blessedness. At this royal flow-hair-cutting, every nobleman, and government officer of any considerable rank, sent in a gift, each, of course, by a female proxy. When the ceremonies were over, the King affectionately saluted his daughter, and then withdrew to the other saloon, to receive the congratulations of the gentlemen, and preside over the festivities of the evening. The ladies afterward sat down to a princely repast in one of the apartments of the seraglio; but for the gentlemen, no table was laid,-refreshments being served only to the foreigners,—until after the king retired, as native subjects may not eat or drink in the presence of their sovereign. But there were dainties enough brought in for our little party of about a dozen, including the four ladies who had by this time rejoined their gentlemen friends, to have feasted the entire court. Tea, sherbet, and pomegranate juice, cakes and comfits, fruits and ' confectionery, all served on golden plate, and adorned with flowers, were pressed upon us, while his Majesty amused himself by looking on, and asking all manner of unheard of questions.
The service occupied about twenty minutes; and then, as the young Princess knelt before her royal father, on a tiny cushion at his feet, several of her maidens unbound the long coil of hair, suffering it to fall in glossy waves about the bright face and lovely neck. Then the King plucked a leaf from each of the little trees, and threw them both into the basin of rose-water; at the same time depositing, on a huge golden salver, a case of costly jewels, a bag of gold coin, and an exquisite set of betel-boxes, as his presents to this beloved daughter at so important an era in her life. He next dipped his fingers in the rose-water, drew them caressingly across the soft, flowing hair, and then with the scissors, clipped off, perhaps the eighth of an inch of the front hair, dropped it into another gold basin placed for the purpose, and quietly resumed his seat. The priest cut the next piece; but did not touch either head or hair-the latter being held for him by one of the royal maiden's attendants; and for his present he deposited an exquisite volume of the sacred Bali Shastres, engraved on tiny strips of pearl, that were strung together on cords woven of pine-apple fiber. After his part in the ceremonies had been performed, the Priest immediately withdrew from the gay scene, as unsuited to his sacred office. After his exit, the mother came forward, literally loaded with rich silks and dainty ornaments, which she deposited as the King had done his gifts, then plucked and threw in the gold and silver leaves, clipped a tiny bit of hair, and sat down. Scores of others followed, one at a time, and each going through precisely the same routine, till the head had been shorn of at least nine tenths of its raven hair; and the salver was heaped almost to the ceiling, with costly wares,-among which were many stout bags of gold and silver coin.
A royal game then followed, in which our party was specially urged by his Majesty to participate. The King filling his two hands with small limes, would throw them in such a manner as to scatter the fruit in every direction, over the widest possible space, urging his guests to collect them, as fast as possible. This was repeated scores of times, while the visitors, to humor the whim of their regal host, entered heartily into the sport, scrambling about upon hands and knees in pursuit of the limes, and receiving now and then, from the merry old king, a hearty pelt over heads or knuckles, at which he would beg pardon, and assure his friends that it was quite accidental! On examination, each fruit was found to contain a gold or silver coin. These, our party handed over to one of the lords in waiting with the request that they should be returned to his Majesty. He, on receiving the message, looked up in surprise, and inquired what had transpired" to give offense to his noble foreign friends." He was assured that they had enjoyed the pastime, but the game being over, they returned the coins as a matter of course, it being contrary to
"WELL, my dear, which is it-Sorrento or San Remo?" I said to my wife, as the coupé rattled round the Baths of Diocletian, and halted at the only depot in Rome.
"O, let us go to San Remo!"
"And lose Vesuvius and the Blue Grotto and Tasso's birth-place? And that little Englishman who makes his breakfast on Murray and Yarmouth bloaters, says Sorrento was founded by Shem, the son of Noah. There's an antique for you!
"Never mind, I'd rather go to San Remo. Besides, nobody knows San Remo, it is so far from any railroad."
In three days, we were beyond Bologna, looking through the drizzling car-window at the endless files of mulberries shivering in the chill rain, at the drenched vines, the donkeys flopping their heavy ears forlornly as they plodded through the mud, the gloomy, sagging sky that seemed fixed forever over all the world. The next noon-a brilliant, boundless dome of blue above us, without one fleck from rim to rim; one bright flow of blue at our feet; the gold and green of endless groves of olive and orange and lemon sloping up the hills to their redpurple crests-the Riviera! As the vettura turns, at length, the fiftieth headland, and the blue of sky and sea has changed to the tender pink and green of a shell, and again to darkening blue, the lights of San Remo glimmer across the bay, and its evening bells are faintly audible, welcoming us to dinner and repose.
and should a foreigner so offend, he would probably never be received again at the regal court, while the same act committed by a native, would undoubtedly cost him his life. As these royal levees often last five or six hours, especially when foreigners are present, and the King happens to be amused, one would scarcely care to attend them often, at any rate after the novelty has worn off. To sit in one place, without even a change of position, for five consecutive hours, amid all the pomp and ceremony of an oriental court,
with a crowd of ten or twelve thousand all about you, and the thermometer standing at 104° or 105° in the shade, let me assure the reader, is no very pleasant pastime.
It took us a day, of course, to get settled for the season. We gave it up to a hunt for the best hotel. There is one albergo with a garden, like a scene at Wallack's -with low marble terraces and balustrades and urns of cactus and beds of flowers, all sloping gently to the sparkling shore; but here, the sound of the surf might often disturb the night's sleep, and in the dinnerroom, everybody seemed to have the original Yankee whooping-cough. But the Albergo di Londra, where we had already found lodging, looks out southward upon the happy sea across an acre of orangegrove, from fifty feet above its dark-green tops. It lies warm and cheerful in the sun, with delicate roses, fiery geraniums, shining lemons in the open grounds of the front; and orange-groves and olives, and the pretty gardens of Italian and English villas, rising steep behind. So we nestled ourselves for the month, at the Grand' Albergo di Londra. But everything in Italy is Italy is "grande "-from a palazzo to a barber-shop. You could pigeon-hole away this grand hotel into half a story of the Fifth Avenue or the Continental.
We did not regret our choice afterward, when dinner was over and we gathered with the company in the comfortable little parlor. You could see that the builder had worked with a wholesome fear of British growls upon his soul, for his windows and doors had actually been made with a view to shut as well as to open. The bright fire