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had drifted up from the coast on to the hills, to
serve him as an observatory, and being duly
fortified with apples and a bottle of liquid, he
gave the necessary and long-expected sign to

It was Guisboro' that led off first (by lot) with
Mr. Jones's March; and, without pretending to
be critical, I may say that the performance more
than equalled the composition. The Lofthouse
Sax-horn band then took possession of the arena,
and showed the judge and the visitors what
village amateurs can do. Both of these
companies were dressed in something like uniform,
which may, or may not, have had an effect upon
their musical unity; and it was not until the
Aislaby players stepped on the platform that I,
for one, amongst the audience, had an
opportunity of regarding a lonely Yorkshire moor-
band, standing up without any adventitious aid.
Without inquiring too closely into the daily
occupations of the performers (which, I am given
to understand, may range from farming to iron-
working, and sometimes to keeping a shop), I
should say that a journeyman baker, two regular
canal bargemen, three Dudley colliers in their
Sunday clothes, a working blacksmith without
much adornment, and two Scotch tally-men,
provided with dingy trombones, cornopeans, Sax-
horns, and ophicleides, would complete the
picture of the Aislaby band. The Farndale and
Bilsdale moor-bands that followed them, were
twin brothers in appearance; and I say this
with no disrespect to these humble students of
a refined accomplishment, but rather to their
infinite credit. They were all working men of the
hardest working class, and they manfully showed
like what they are.

When Mr. Jones's March had been decently
blown through the five brass bands and then got
rid of, the second test of comparative merit took
place; the performance of the operatic and sacred
selections. The same rotation was again observed,
and after Guisboro' had led off with a number of
airs from II Trovatore, the Lofthouse band
followed with the Hallelujah Chorus, and the moor-
bands of Aislaby, Farndale, and Bilsdale respectively,
with selections from La Somnambula,
Lucrezia Borgia, and Mozart's Twelfth Mass. To
say that the performance of these difficult pieces
approached perfection, would only convey an
untruth, but it far exceeded the ordinary
standard of civilisation existing at the places
from which the bands were drawn. The Bilsdale
band, although playing with less spirit, perhaps,
than some of their rivals, had a keen sense of
harmony, and a rich mellow tone, which suited
my taste even better than the performance of
their more successful competitors. It was a
sight to see the leader of this band, a short and
sunburnt young man, like a country "boots,"
dressed in a waistcoat that might have been
a piece of leopard's skin, except that the ground,
instead of being brown, was crimson, and the
spots, instead of being black, were a very
prominent white. There were several other moor
flowers in this and other bands, with a taste
for very similar waistcoats; and not the
unapproachable Jullien, in all his glory, could
compare with one of these.

To see such conductors waving a cornopean,
while "T' Twel' Mass o' Mozart," or "S'lectshuns
fram t' Narma," as they were conversationally
called, were being played in rather
slow and consequently Lofthouse time, was
a hopeful sight for those who travel through
the moorland district in the constant fear that
some ruffian will " fettle their mouths with a
brick." I do not pretend to say, that because
Ah, che la morte! is blown upon a Yorkshire
trumpet, fighting is altogether a stranger to
Yorkshire fists, but I think that the man who
conducts the melodies of Bellini, although in a
crimson waistcoat and corduroys, is not likely to
bite off his neighbour's ear, or to gouge out his
neighbour's eye, and is very likely to have a
humanising influence on some of his less
cultivated brethren, besides.

The excitement when the prizes were declared
to be awarded in the following rotation

Lofthouse . . . .First
Guisboro' . . . . .Second
Farndale . . . . .Third
Bilsdale . . . . .Fourth
Aislaby . . . . . .Last
was sufficient to show that the cudgels and the
wrestling ring had not altogether been
exchanged for the harp; and the cheers and
groans were sufficiently loud and antagonistic
to warrant the presence of the police officers,
who had come from every village within twenty
miles. The final musical assault of the day was
the triumphal return of the five bands, in the
order of their adjudged excellence, to the
devoted and expectant Golden Lion, where all
the dirty glasses and mugs of the morning had
been washed for the afternoon, and where fresh
barrels of ale were set under groaning machines
to satisfy alike the demands of the victor and
the vanquished. The noise that these enraged
and delighted musicians made, as they marched
into the village, all playing at once, and all
playing different tunes, amidst the barking of
dogs, the shouting of children, the cheering of
friends, and the groaning of enemies, can only be
compared to Bartholomew Fair in its palmiest
days, when every showman was beating his gong,
and declaring that he alone was the possessor of
the original spotted boy.

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