Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/286

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246 The Dancing-Tower Processions 0/ Italy.

sixty-two facchini whose office it is to carry the Cero assembled in the great square. Chosen for their strength, they are sustained by the promise of reward, not in this Hfe only but in the next. They wear white clothes, red waist-scarfs and turbans, this peculiar head-dress, which gives them an Oriental appearance, being intended to afford some protection to the back of the head and neck, on which, like the Caryatides, they support the enormous weight. The Count of Turin attended by a circle of brilliant uniforms made his appearance on a balcony, and the assembled Ceraioli, having made their obeisance to him, at a given signal and by one united effort, raised the stupendous edifice. Then amid wild strains of music and attended by a shouting crowd, the Ccro, twinkling from head to foot like a gigantic Christmas-tree, came swaying down the narrow street, ready to crush all that lay in its path. But that path was cleared and carefully sanded to prevent a fatal slip, and from the safe vantage of an upper window in the Hotel Schenardi it was possible to enjoy without apprehension the really magnificent spectacle. The tapering spire, sixty feet high, overtopped the tallest houses : it was as if the tower of St. Clement Danes were suddenly to stir from its foundation and make a rapid progress through the Strand. Even the sight of the hotel-keeper's son beaming from one of its higher stories did not wholly destroy the illusion. The eyes of the Ceraioli being perforce bent earthward, an official on either side guided the direction, and halts were made at certain authorized stations. Finally, after thus parading the city for some hours the Cero was deposited in front of the church of its patroness. There was no whirling, and there were no hanging figures on the edifice. The sym- bolical statues which decorated it appeared to be made of wood or plaster. The same Cero is made use of on five consecutive occasions. Then a new one is provided, the architectural style varying from Gothic to Renaissance,