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sexton was ordered, as if casually, to leave the church keys at the parish clergyman's house the preceding evening, after curfew.
Meanwhile the main body takes possession of the market-place, or perhaps some hillock which commands the whole town or village, numerous patrols being in readiness to keep the inhabitants in their houses, and compel the appearance, either at their own doors or at the immediate scene of action, of the delinquents. The platform is erected whilst all this is going on, and at a given signal the torches are lighted, fire-arms discharged, horns blown, kettles beaten, and the opening of the tribunal proclaimed through a huge speaking-trumpet. This is usually the very first intimation the inhabitants receive; the whole of the above preliminaries being carried out with astonishing rapidity, order, and in perfect silence. Should here and there a solitary watchman or other individual happen to be out of doors, such are pounced upon by the patrols, and kept under strict guard as long as is necessary. Any attempt at resistance is perfectly useless, and would be met by coercive measures, extending even to the use of fire-arms.
I have never myself witnessed one of these scenes, although several took place within a very short distance of the town in which I resided for a time, and which was itself threatened, or supposed to be ; but persons who had done so described to me the noise as being perfectly terrific, and, combined with the fitting light of the torches falling on the disguised "drivers," almost demoniacal. In that part of Bavaria, especially, all the cattle are permanently housed, and there are frequently some twenty to thirty oxen and cows in one stable ; and these, on being suddenly roused from their peaceful rumination by the glare of light and the noise, become terrified, and make wild efforts to break loose, filling the air with their lowings, the numerous dogs joining at the same time in a chorus of howlings.
The “ act of accusation" is meanwhile read aloud by some loudvoiced peasant. This document is composed of rudely rhymed verseswhat are called Knittel-verse, that is to say, bludgeon-verses, in the broad patois of the district--for the secret tribunal disdains the use of prose, eschews all legal terminology, and has its own poet-laureate. A great deal of broad humour, sometimes blended with really genial ideas, and mostly with a large admixture of coarseness and obscenity, is contained in these rhymes, which are sure to provoke numerous improvisations of a corresponding character from the assessors and assistants of the court.
But what else can be expected from descriptions of intrigues and amorous scenes in which the very words that passed between the parties, and the details of the artifices used to avoid detection, are repeated. from the retentive memories of the secret spies, to the great horror and confusion of the delinquents and the disagreeable surprise of injured wives, husbands, and lovers ? One of the most striking and successful hits is when some one of the inhabitants shows marks of delight and satisfaction at VOL. XVI.NO. 96.
his or her neighbour's and dear friend's secret sins being thus openly exposed, meanwhile blessing their stars at having been more circumspect themselves-till their own catalogue is brought before the public at a sudden turn in the versification. A man was once pointed out to me who had come out on the balcony of his house to enjoy the sport, and been there suddenly hit in this way.
The terrorism exercised by an armed band of this sort is quite sufficient to ensure the appearance-either at their own house-doors, as I have said, or, if these be too remote, on the scene of action itself—of the culprits, who, when their delinquencies have been published, are mercifully permitted to withdraw and hide themselves.
Thus, one by one the marked individuals are brought forward, and when the long scroll has been read right through, at a preconcerted signal the torches are extinguished and thrown away, the earthenware trumpets broken, the platform pulled in pieces, and the whole band disperses as rapidly and secretly as it had assembled. It would be a dange
a matter to attempt pursuit, for the “ drivers are all well armed, and defend themselves and fellows without hesitation.
There was a Haberfeld Treiben at the village of Tegernsee, close to the residence of Prince Charles of Bavaria, in the year 1862, as well as I can recollect, and a patrol of two gendarmes quartered in another village, on hearing the tumult and noise, hastened to the scene of action, in order to endeavour to arrest some of the “drivers.” But on making their appearance they were immediately fired on, after a previous challenge to stand, and one gendarme was killed on the spot. As may be supposed, the Government instituted a rigorous inquiry into the matter, but no evidence of any kind whatever could be obtained. Sometimes considerable damage is done in the village by fences being broken down, cattle getting loose in the stables, or forcing their way out and running wild over the country. The one redeeming feature in the proceedings of this secret society is, that all such damages are compensated liberally and promptly : the amount of loss incurred by each individual is easily ascertained by the initiated, who live in the place itself, and by them transmitted to the chiefs ; and then the person in question finds some morning-in his jacket pocket, or in the churn or on his table—a parcel containing, in hard cash, a fair and ample remuneration; the certainty of receiving which prevents all recourse to the law and stops people's mouths effectually.
In 1863, as well as I can recollect, there was a great Haberfeld Treiben at Rosenheim; and the telegraph and railroad being put in requisition, troops were brought from Munich. However, they arrived too late, and nothing was discovered but one or two strangers, who, overcome with fatigue, had fallen asleep in a barn several miles distant. No evidence beyond the fire-arms found with them could be procured to connect them with the affair.
Aibling was then threatened, or supposed to be, and troops were sent down-who, in conjunction with the local militia, patrolled every night for several weeks. Of course the “ drivers " did not make their appearance there, but they pounced on a small village called Pang, a few English miles distant, on the direct road to Kufstein. The parish priest was said to have been unpleasantly brought before the public on that occasion ; but it was not easy to ascertain particulars, as the people are very reticent on matters that affect the clergy.
Rosenheim, a tolerably large town on the Inn, just where the railroads from Munich, Innspruck, and Salzburg form their junction, had been long threatened with a visitation ; but it would seem that the “ drivers ” were deterred from time to time, and as the inhabitants were supposed to be fully determined to oppose force to force, the issue was looked upon with some anxiety. The Archbishop of Munich had at various periods issued warnings against the Haberfeld Treiben : amongst others, on the 16th February, 1866, a pastoral letter threatening excommunication. But all these documents were totally disregarded. Towards the middle of October, 1866, that is to say, at the commencement of the season, there was pretty strong evidence that this secret society was preparing to carry on operations with unusual vigour; and on the night of the 20th a grand Haberfeld Treiben was performed at Rosenheim, or rather attempted to be performed, for the gendarmerie of the district had been secretly brought into the town, and aided by a company of the local militia, which was kept in readiness to turn out at a moment's warning, they attacked the “drivers" immediately they appeared. A desperate fight ensued, lasting an hour and a half. One of the drivers was killed, several wounded, and seven taken prisoners, upon which the whole band dispersed and fled. Fortunately, there were no casualties on the side of the militia and gendarmes. A considerable quantity of ammunition was also seized, and this was the first severe blow these people ever met with.
As might be expected, they were dreadfully enraged, and letters were sent to several of the Rosenheim people threatening to set the whole town on fire, so that much alarm prevailed till the Government took active measures to prevent a recurrence of similar outrages. It would also appear that there is a strong revulsion in the public feeling as regards this singular society. Hitherto the great majority of the inhabitants of the district were either indifferent, or regarded the Haberfeld Treiben with secret favour ; but of late years, instead of adhering to the original plan of admitting only respectable married men and a few younger ones of established character and credit to the membership of the society, the majority came to consist of dare-devil youths and farm-labourers, so that, as an old peasant said,
Formerly the decent people used to drive’ the scamps and vagabonds, and now the respectable people are driven by the ruffians.”
The truth is, that the social and moral condition of the peasantryof which they were hitherto proud as a class—has been gradually changed by a variety of enactments. Land has been rendered purchasable by
every one in any quantity, and the old peasant farms having become absolutely the property of the former holders, are being gradually split up and subdivided; and thus the elements of which this ancient society formerly consisted are gradually disappearing, and their place is being taken by other and less reputable ones.
Whatever may be thought of the rude manner in which the Haberfeld Treiben was carried out, its ends and objects were laudable enough. The existence of secret societies is, however, in itself a great evil, if only because they are apt to degenerate into the worst and most oppressive kind of tyranny, that of secret denunciation, followed by execution inflicted by invisible agents.
I have only to add that the Bavarian law could only touch the Haberfeld prisoners taken at Rosenheim for the unlawful bearing of arms; and this being only an offence, and not a crime or misdemeanor, they were all necessarily set free bail within a day two, and I have never ascertained what punishment was ultimately inflicted on them. We shall see whether the society will dare to repeat its meetings this year. The Archbishop of Munich thought it necessary, on the 2nd November, a few days after the great Rosenheim affair, to issue a new pastoral, actually pronouncing the ban of the church, or the greater excommunication, against all persons taking part in or favouring the Haberfeld Treiben, and forbidding all the priests of the archdiocese to grant absolution to such, except in articulo mortis or by his own express permission. Probably this measure will have some effect; ho ver, it is just possible that it may be disregarded, for my good friends in the Haberfeld district of Upper Bavaria are very obstinate and self-willed, and have a great regard for their ancient institutions.
Jottings from the Note-Book of an åndeveloped Collector.
If we may judge by the prices paid by the Marquis of Hertford for some of his specimens of Sèvres, and other chef-d'auvres of the Ceramic art, we may consider him to be somewhat of the opinion of Charles Lamb,—"I have an almost feminine partiality for old China. When I go to sco any great house, I inquire for the China closet, and then for the picturegallery."
The taste for pottery and porcelain is of most respectable antiquity. Among Roman collectors no objects of virtù were more highly prized than vasa
murrhina." The value set upon specimens of this substance is almost incredible. Nero, for instance, gave 300 sestertia (about 2,3401.) for a single drinking-cup. When his friend Petronius, director-in-chief of his wine-parties, had been accused of treason, and knew that his property would pass into the possession of the tyrant, he smashed a ladle, equally valuable with Nero's cup. What the material of these precious articles was is very uncertain. Perhaps it was some rare oriental pebble of onyx or agate. Sir G. Wilkinson suggests fluor-spar, Mr. Marryatt opal glass, which from the oxides in it has deliquesced; but from certain expressions in Latin writers it seems not improbable that it was Chinese porcelain ; and this opinion is much strengthened if Sir W. Gell is right in saying that “ the porcelain of the East was called Mirrha di Smyrna to as late a date as 1555." No fragments of porcelain, however, have been discovered amongst Roman antiquities.
Pottery dried in the sun, or hardened by fire, is of extreme antiquity. The Chinese ascribe the invention of their earthenware to the Emperor Hoang-ti, who began to reign B.c. 2698. The earliest specimens of pottery which possess any real interest as works of art are the vases, &c. usually called Etruscan. They are for the most part of a deep red colour, owing to the large proportion-sometimes as much as twenty-four per cent.—of oxide of iron contained in the clay. The number of these Etruscan vessels in our museums is most astonishing. The British Museum alone possesses about 3,000; and “the total number of vases," says Mr. Birch, in his valuable History of Ancient Pottery, “ in public and private collections probably amounts to 15,000.” He gives us instances of the prices which some examples have fetched. A sum of 5001. was paid for the Athenæum vases in Lord Elgin's collection ; 8,4001. for the vases of the Hamilton collection ; Baron Durand's collection sold, in 1836, for 12,5241 ; one vase in this collection was purchased for the Louvre for