Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/226

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


212 Collectanea.

for that reason, though we have given some auguries, they were omitted, the intention being to treat Hallowe'en separately. But

Frencli Mesmerism

Is practised at this festival. The writer has known it himself since he was a child; there seems, however, to be nothing of the augury about it. The blackened plate used sometimes took the place of the dirty water in an augury formula.

A person having been found who expresses a willingness to be mesmerised after the French fashion, the mesmeriser sits down close in front, each being provided with a plate which is held close to the face. Stringent regulations are laid down that the one to be operated on must gaze fixedly at the operator's face and follow minutely all his movements. The plates are now supplied, the operator's clean on both sides, the other carefully smoked with a candle on the side to be held away from her. The operator, after a few preliminary movements, touching the eyebrows, the point of the nose, or such Hke, puts her finger in her mouth, the other of course following suit. The operator now draws her finger across the reverse side of her plate, puts it to her face and continues this, always followed by her victim, till the latter's face is thoroughly spotted and streaked with the soot which is on her plate, but not on that of the operator. A reference to a looking-glass will then clearly demonstrate the results of French mesmerism.

A Gaelic play on words with the characteristics of a sell in it is as follows :

One says to another, who of course must have some confi- dence in him, "An ith thu an ni dh'iarras mi ort?" (Will you eat what I bid you ?) " Ithidh " says the other agreeing, and his bill of fare is then recited as follows : — " Ith ciad ubh eireig, clithaobh sgadain, agus ceathramh arain." This is rather a staggerer because by ciad he thinks a hundred is meant, by cli-thaobh * a creel ' (cliabh) and ceathra?nh arain ' a quarter of bread,' he probably confuses with a measure of bread bearing some proportion to that of the other victuals, in fact he