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for the blood of the saint, is something naturally solid, but which melts with a small degree of heat. When it is first brought out of the cold chapel, say those gentlemen, it is in its natural solid state: but when brought before the saint by the priest, and rubbed between his warm hands, and breathed upon for some time, it melts; and this is the whole mystery. Though I find myself unable to explain on what principle the liquefaction depends, I am fully convinced that it must be something different from this ; for I have it from the most satisfactory authority, from those who had opportunities of knowing, and who believe no more in the miracle than you do, that this congealed mass has sometimes been found in a liquid state in cold weather, before it was touched by the priest, or brought near the head of the saint; and that, on other occasions, it has remained solid when brought before him, notwithstanding all the efforts of the priest to melt it. When this happens, the superstitious, which, at a very moderate calculation, comprehends ninety-nine in a hundred of the inhabitants of this city, are thrown into the utmost consternation, and are sometimes wrought up by their fears into a state of mind which is highly dangerous both to their civil and ecclesiastical
governors. It is true, that this happens but seldom; for, in general, the substance in the phial, whatever it may be, is in a solid form in the chapel, and becomes liquid when brought before the saint ; but as this is not always the case, it affords reason to believe, that, whatever may have been the case when this miracle or trick, call it which you please, was first exhibited, the principle on which it depends has somehow or other been lost, and is not now understood fully even by the priests themselves ; or else they are not now so expert, as formerly, in preparing the substance which represents the saint's blood, so as to make it remain solid when it ought, and liquefy the instant it is required.
The head and blood of the saint are kept in a kind of press, with folding doors of silver, in the chapel of St.
Januarius, belonging to the cathedral churc). The real head is probably not so fresh, and well preserved, as the blood ; and on that account is not exposed to the eyes of the public, but inclosed in a large silver bușt, gilt and enriched with jewels of high value. This being what appears to the people, their idea of the saint's features and complexion are taken entirely from the bust.
The blood is kept in a small repository by itself.
About mid-day, the bust, inclosing the real head, brought with great solemnity, and placed under a kind of portico, open on all sides, that the different communities, which come in procession, may be able to traverse it, and that the people may have the comfort of beholding the miracle. The processions of that solemn day were innu. merable; all the streets of Naples were crowded with the various order of ecclesiastics, dressed in their richest robes. The monks of each convent were mustered under their own particular banners. A splendid cross was car. ried before each procession; and the images, in massy silver, of the saints, peculiarly patronizing the convents, followed the cross. In this order they marched from the convents to the pavilion, under which the head of St. Januarius was placed, and having done due obeisance to that great protector of this city, they marched back by a different route, in the same order, to their convent. But as there are a great many convents in Naples, and a great number of monks in each convent, though the processions began soon after mid-day, the evening was well advanced before the last of them had passed. The grand procession of all began when the others had finished. It was composed of a numerous body of clergy, and an immense multitude of people of all ranks, headed by the archbishop of Naples himself, who carried the phial con, taining the blood of the saint. The duke of Hamilton and I accompanied Sir William Hamilton to a house di. rectly opposite to the portico, where the sacred head was placed. We there found a large assembly of Neapolitan pobility. A magnificent robe of velvet, richly embroider, ed, was thrown over the shoulders of the bust; a mitre, refulgent with jewels, was placed on its head. The archbishop, with a solemn pace, and a look full of awe and veneration, approached, holding forth the sacred phial which contained the precious lump of blood. He addressed the saint in the humblest manner, fervently praying that he would graciously condescend to manifest his regard to his faithful votaries the people of Naples, by the usual token of ordering that lump of his sacred blood to assume its natural and original form. In those prayers he was joined by the multitude around, particularly by the women; of whom there seemed more than their proportion. My curiosity prompted me to leave the balcony, and mingle with the multitude. I got by degrees quite near the bust. Twenty minutes had already elapsed, since the archbishop had been praying with all possible earnestness, and turning the phial around and around with
effect. An old monk stood near the archbishop, and was at the utmost pains to instruct him how to handle, chafe, and rub the phial; he frequently took it into his own hands, but his manœuvres were as ineffectual as those of the archbishop. By this time the people had become exceedingly noisy; the women were quite hoarse with praying ; the monk continued his operations with increased zeal; and the archbishop was all over in a profuse sweat with vexation. In whatever light the failure of the miracle might appear to others, it was a very serious matter to him ; because the people consider such an event as a proof of the saint's displeasure, and a certain indication that some dreadful calamity will ensue. This was the first'opportunity he had had of officiating since bis nomination to the see. There was no knowing what fancy might have entered into the heads of a superstitious populace; they might have imagined, or his enemies might have insinuated, that the failure of the miracle proceeded from St. Januarius's disapprobation of the person in whose hands it was to have taken place. I never saw more evident marks of vexation and alarm than appeared
in the countenance of the right reverend personage. This alone would have convinced me that they cannot command the liquefaction when they please. While things were in this state I observed a gentleman come hastily through the crowd, and speak to the old monk, who, in a pretty loud voice, and with an accent and a grimace very expressive of chagrin, replied, “Cospetto di bacco è dura come una pietra.'* At the same time an acquaintance whispered me, that it would be prudent to retire, because the mob on similar occasions have been struck with a notion, that the operation of the miracle was disturbed by the presence of heretics ; on which they are apt to insult them. I directly took his hint, and joined the company I bad left. An universal gloom had overspread all their countenances, they talked to each other in whispers, and seemed oppressed with grief and contrition. One very beautiful young lady cried and sobbed as if her heart had been ready to break. The passions of some of the rabble without doors took a different turn; instead of sorrow, they were filled with rage and indignation at the saint's obstinacy. They put him in mind of the zeal with which he was adored by people of all ranks in Naples; of the honours which had been conferred on him ; that he was respected here more than in any other country on earth; and some went so far as to call him, an old ungrateful yellow-faced rascal, for his obduracy. It was now almost dark and when least expected, the signal was given that the miracle was performed.--The
popu. lace filled the air with repeated shouts of joy; a band of music began to play ; Te Deum was sung; couriers were dispatched to the royal family, then at Portici, with the glad tidings; the young lady dried up her tears; the countenances of our company brightened in an instant, and they sat down to cards without farther dread of eruptions, earthquakes, or pestilence.
I had remarked, during their suspense with respect to the success of the miracle, that some imputed the delay
# 'Sblood ! it is still as hard as a stone.
partly to the weather, which happened to be rainy, and colder than is usual at this season; and partly to the awkwardness of the archbishop, who, never having performed before, was accused of not handling the phial in the same dexterous and efficacious manner that a person of experience would have done. While they imputed the failure to those causes, they seemed equally uneasy with the rest of the company about the consequences. It struck me that the first sentiment was perfectly inconsistent with the second. I mentioned this
I mentioned this to a French gentleman, who is here as travelling companion to the young comte de Grammont. (If,' said I, the weather, or the unskilfulness of the archbishop, has prevented the substance in the phial from becoming liquid, this surely cannot be an indication that heaven or the saint is displeased; if, on the contrary, the blood continuing solid in the presence of the saint, proceeds from heaven or the saint being offended, then no kind of weather, and no kind of expertness on the part of the archbishop, could have rendered it liquid. Monsieur,' said he, voilà ce qu'on appelle raisonner, ce que ces messieurs ne font jamais.'
The same evening, an acquaintance of mine, who is als so a Roman Catholic, and who reinained close by the archbishop till all was over, assured me, that the miracle had failed entirely ; for the old monk seeing no symptom of the blood liquefying, had called out that the miracle had succeeded ; on which the signal had been given, the people had shouted, the archbishop had held up the bottle, moving it with a rapid motion before the eyes of the spectators, and nobody choosing to contradict what every. body wished, he had been allowed to cover up the phial, and carry it back to the chapel, with the contents, in the same form they had come abroad. How far this account is exactly true I will not take on me to assert; I was not near enough to see the transaction myself, and I have only the authority of this person, having heard no other body say they had observed the same,