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The original establishment of this festival is a mat. ter of dispute. Livy places it under the consulship of Ancus Sempronicus and M. Minutius Augurinus. Some attribute it to Tarquin the Proud, while others carry it as far back as to the period of Janus, king of the Aborigines, who received Saturn in Italy. After the reign of Tarquin, the celebration of it was discontinued, but was resumed, by the authority of the Senate, during the second Punic war.
Connected with this festival, and forming indeed a part of it, were four others, the Opalia, the Sigillaria the Larentalia, and the Juvenalia. The Opalia was in honor of the goddess Ops or Cybele, and was held on the eighteenth. The Sigillaria occurred on the nineteenth, and was so called from the presents which persons made to each other, and which consisted of little figures of copper, silver, gold, or even of clay. Statues of this kind were offered to Pluto, on this occasion, and tapers to Saturn. The Larentalia, was on the twenty-third, and was in memory of Acca Laurentia, the wife of Faustulus, by whom Romulus and Remus were brought up. The Juvenalia was added by Caligula, and was held on the twenty-fourth.
In the interval between the commencement and conclusion of the Saturnalia there were also two other festivals. The first of these was the Angeronalia, which fell on the twentieth, and was dedicated to Angerona, the goddess of silence and calmness of mind; and the second was the Lararia, or Compitalia, devoted to the Gods Lares, which happened on the twenty-second. On this latter day, offerivgs of bonied wine were also made to Hercules and Venus. Sacrifices were offered to Phæbus, on the twenty-seventh and two subsequent days. In this month, likewise, the husbandmen held a festival called Vacunalia, in wbich the goddess Vacuna was invoked.
The Sun during this month is in the signs Sagittarius, and Capricorn.
OF THE · SHIPWRECK OF THE MEDUSA FRIGATE,
Concluded from page 287. DRIVEN almost to madness hy the gnawings of hunger, many of the crew rushed upon the dead bodies, and satisfied their voracious appetites with this disgusting food. Some, who could not yet submit to avail themselves of this terrible resource, endeavoured to allay the cravings of their stomach with leather, linen, pieces of hat, or whatever else they could find. Ali were, however, at length, compelled to yield to irresistible necessity. The day was spent in alternations of momentary hope, and silent despair. Prayers were, at times, addressed to the Supreme Being. Half thé men were exceedingly weak, and bore iu all their features the signs of approaching dissolution. The night was dark, but, fortunately, calm. Slumber sometimes visited the sufferers, but their sleep was tormented by frightful dreams; and though so many had perished, they were still up to their knees in the water, and could repose only standing, and pressed against cach other into a solid mass.
The dawn of day discovered to them ten or twelve of their companions stretched lifeless at their feet. The bodies were committed to the sea, with the exception of one. The day was fine, and a circumstance occurred which afforded a transient succour. A shoal of flyingfish passed under the raft, and about two hundred of them became entangled in the interstices of the timbers. With a little gunpowder, they contrived to procure a fire, and to make a scanty repast upon the fish which they had caught. It seemed, however, as if sustenance gave them strength for no other purpose than to display their ferocity. A plot was formed by one part of them, to throw the other into the sea. A desperate conflict was once more the result, and the raft was soon stained with torrents of blood, and strewed with the dying and the dead. After a long struggle, the mutineers were subdued.
When the fifth morning broke upon them, not more
than thirty remained, and these were in the most deplorable state. The sea-water had almost entirely excoriated their lower extremities, and they were covered with contusions or wounds, the smart of which, occasioned by the saline element which beat upon them, was almost insupportable. Thus they lingered on, till the seventh day, when their pumber was further diminished. Two soldiers were punished with death, for stealing a part of the small remaining portion of wine. An interesting child, named Leon, only twelve years old, also expired on this day. Young as he was, he had already made a campaign in the East Indies, and been remarked for his courage. The manner in which he was treated, is the sole trait of humanity which appears in the conduct of those who were contained on the raft. Every thing was done for him which could prolong his existence; as much nutriment as possible being given to him, without a single murmur. Nay, savage as the sufferers were to each other, they bore without resentment even his trampling upon their wounded limbs. “As long as the strength of this young marine allowed him," says M. Correard, “he ran continually from one side to the other, calling, with loud cries, for his unhappy mother, water, and food. He walked, without discrimination, over the feet and legs of his companions in misfortune, who, in their turn, uttered cries of anguish, wbich were every moment repeated. But their complaints were very seldom accompanied by menaces ; they pardoned every thing in the poor youth who had caused them, and who was, in fact, in a state of mental derangement." · Of the twenty-seven who were left, not more than fifteen had strength enough to have a chance of surviving even for a few days. The other twelve were covered with large wounds, and were almost wholly hereft of their reason. The stock of wine was rapidly decreasing. In this emergency, a council was held; and, “after a debate, at which the most dreadfal de spair presided, it was resolved to throw the sick into the sea," as to put i bem on short allowance would be only killing them by inches, and would certainly consume sufficient to prevent the remainder from holding out till succour could arrive. "Three sailors and a
Boldier,” says the narrator, “ took on themselves this cruel execution: we turned our faces aside, and wept tears of blood over these unhappy men.” There was now. barely sufficient sustenance on the raft to last for eight days, at the expiration of which period death was inevitable. After this melancholy catastrophe, all the arms were wisely thrown into the ocean, only one sabre being reserved, in case it should be necessary to cut a rope, or a piece of wood..
An event, triffing in itself, but which naturally inspired them with hope and joy, now occurred. A small, white, butterfly was seen hovering round the raft, and, at length, it settled on the sail. This was greeted as an omen of their approach to the land. Yet, $0 terrible was the hunger which the sufferers felt, that some were anxious to catch the butterfly, that they might devour it; but others, considering it as a messenger from heaven, would not allow it to be injured. Shortly after, more butterflies appeared, and a bird, which latter they fruitlessly endeavoured to ensnare. More birds came in sight on the following days. The time was now past by the crew, in reciting their past
dventures, and regretting the state of dependance to which their country was compelled to submit.
To their other torments was added that of a raging thirst, which was redoubled, in the day time, by the burning heat of the sun. 'To allay this thirst, the most disgusting fluids were eagerly drunk, and were contended for with a bitterness and violence wbich, more than once, were on the point of terminating in blows. Some put pieces of pewter in their mouths, to cool them; and others wetted their faces and hair with the salt-water. Delirium again spread its influence among them, and a combat was on the eve of being commenced, when their attention was luckily called off, by the appearance of a number of sharks, which surrounded them, and seemed to claim their prey. Though repeatedly beaten off with the sabre, these voracious monsters still persisted in keeping near to the raft. - So desperate, however, were the crew, that some of them, in hopes of allaying their thirst, did not hesitate to bathe in sight of their formidable enemies, while others placed themselves naked on the part of the raft which was covered by the sea. But here anos ther misery was to be endured. A kind of polypus was driven in great numbers on the raft, and when their long arms clung to the naked body, they caused the most cruel sufferings.
On the eleventh day, believing themselves to be not far from land, eight of them resolved to construct a smaller raft, and try to reach the coast. A little mast and a sail were fixed up, and barrel-staves were con, verted into oars. On trial, however, their new machine was found to be utterly unfit for its purpose; and the idea of using it was, of course, abandoned. Night came, and with it the gloomiest thoughts. The wine was almost exhausted, and they began to feel an invincible dislike, and a sort of terror, of the flesh which had bitherto supported them. It appeared probable that, in a very short period, their struggles and their woes would be ended by death.
The sun broke upon them, in unclouded splendour, on the twelfth day." They had just offered up prayers, and divided a portion of their wine, when the tops of the masts of a brig were faintly descried on the hori: zon. In an instant, every heart was filled with gladness, not unmingled with fear; and handkerchiefs of different colours were hastily tied together, and waved as a signal from the summit of the mast. Half an hour was spent in all the agony of suspense. At times, the brig was supposed to be near them; at times, it seemed to recede. At length it became but too certain that it had disappeared. “ From the delirium of joy,” says M. Correard, “ we fell into profound despondency and grief; we envied the fate of those whom we had seen perish at our side, and we said to ourselves, When we shall be destitute of every thing, and our strength begins to forsake us, we will wrap ourselves up as well as we can, we will lay ourselves down on this platform, the scene of so many sufferings, and there we will await death with resignation. At last, to calm our despair, we wished to seek some consolation in the arms of sleep. The day before, we had been consumed by the fire of a burning sun; this day, to avoid the fierceness of his heams, we made a teuit with the sails of the frigate: as soon as it was put up we