Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/412

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324 NOTICES AND NEWS.

tents. It will be seen at a glance that this part of the work is essentially useful to us in two ways: (1) in interesting us in the local form of essentially Italian customs; and (2) affording the comparison, to which allusion has already been made, with the sayings and super- stitions of all other countries.

The 1st volume (xivth of the series), 117 pages, are devoted to the Carnival past and present, under which head many games, as for example the giuoco delV oca, come in for description. Pp. 102 — 111 give some important quasi-historical notes as to the observance of a Mid-Lent festival, Mezza-quaresima, differing in form but agreeing in principle with the observance further north, though in Kome it is so altogether unknown that some attempts of late years to introduce it called forth the indignant ire of the " clerical " papers.

The next 246 pages give a most important account of a variety of old romances of chivalry that find place in the repertory of the marionette and other popular theatres, in the effusions of the Can- tastorie, in the ballads and poems of the people.

Most amusing are the succeeding 100 pages, narrating all about the street cries ; succeeded by forty which tell us what a poetical people thinks it hears in the voice of bell and drum — but the drum that celebrates the local festival, not the drum of the military.

The volume closes with some sailors' songs and usages, including the practice of tatooing.

Volume 2 (xv.) is entirely devoted to local customs : pp. 3 — 112, wedding customs ; 113 — 200 to customs connected with births and baptisms; 201 — 254 to death and burial. Then follow twenty-five pages about the " gossip " comjmratico, including the sensational tra- dition of Capo Feto, which shows the sanctity with which this quasi- relationship is guarded.

Highly important is the succeeding chapter on la Mafia e Vomerta. The latter, a word which will hardly be found in the dictionaries, is here fully traced out and explained in all its inherent heroism and all its mischievous consequences. No less characteristic of the Sicilian people is the concluding chapter on the meaningfulness of the gestures with which their every word is accompanied, on nicknames and familiar