Page:A book of the Pyrenees.djvu/357

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299
S. VINCENT

but they also go to the ball. The three last days of carnival are given up by the whole population to a wild frenzy. They cling to this poor carnival as though it would never return. Every café has its ball at night; if weather permit there is a general ball in the public square."


A few yards from the beach on a rock stands a chapel dedicated to S. Vincent, who is traditionally held to have been born at Collioure. He was martyred at Valencia in Spain, 304. But Huesca also claims the honour of his birth. His name is included in the English Church calendar on 22 January. From the rock of S. Vincent on 16 August, annually, at nine o'clock in the evening, starts a procession of boats that brings the relics of the saint to the town. The sailing-boats and fishing-vessels richly decked and illuminated with coloured lamps are reflected in the still sea. An immense crowd is gathered about the harbour, that is lighted by a bonfire made of vine twigs and barrels of tar.

As soon as the vessel bearing the relics arrives at the quay, the harbour-master calls out, '* What boat is that?" To which the captain replies, "A boat of Saint Vincent." "Whence come you?" "From Saint Vincent-de-l'Ile." "With what are you laden?" "With the relics of the Saint Vincent, of Saint Marinus, and of Saint Liberada." "Are there passengers, and are they according to rule?" "There are passengers, and they are all according to rule." "What do you require?" "To be allowed to disembark." "In the name of God, do so."

Then the whole crowd shouts, "Sant Vincens béneit!" Whereupon the boat is hauled ashore and dragged through the town. The crowd that separated to allow of the passage then unites and follows in a dense mass, elbowing one another. The boat halts before the "Vierge des quatres coins," the