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THE VOLCANIC REGIONS OF ITALY. favoured region is watered by the rivers Simeto and
Alcantara, and by numerous streams which descend through Of all the countries of Europe, Italy is that in which hidden channels from the snowy summits of Etna. volcanoes have existed for the longest period, and have pro- The Simeto, now called the Giannetta, is the most duced the most important effects. Traces of very ancient important of the Sicilian rivers; after fertilizing a great volcanoes are still visible in Tuscany, Latium, and the Vene- part of the base of the mountain, it falls into the sea tian territory; the delightful coast of Posilippo, and the adja- | about eight miles from Catania Catania, or the city cent Phlegrean Fields, are volcanic productions, and Vesu- of Etna, is the most important town in the Cultivated vius still spreads desolation and horror over the smiling Region; it was founded by the ancient Sicani, and is plains of the Campagna Felice. If we extend our observa- situated on the banks of the river Amenano, which flows tions to the southern extremity of the Peninsula, we find secretly through the recesses of Etna, and rises sudedenly the straits by which Italy is separated from Sicily studded from the earth near the sea-shore. Thucydides, who with islands, almost all of volcanic origin; and in Sicily, records three very ancient eruptions of this volcano, speakMount Etna rises, the most important of all volcanoes, ing of the third, which took place in the eighty eighth venerable for its antiquity, and wonderful for the effects of Olympiad, says, that it laid waste the lands of the Cataits eruptions, of which centuries have not been able to ex- nians; since that time, this city has been frequently dehaust the fury. There is an opinion of some antiquity, stroyed by the fires of Etna, but, phenix-like, has as that Sicily was once joined to the opposite Continent: the often risen from its ashes. The present city, whiclo convery narrow space which now separates them, the simi- tains about 40,000 inhabitants, was rebuilt in 1669 after larity of their soils, and the evident inclination of the extreme having been nearly annihilated by an eruption which took Apennines in Calabria towards Sicily, tend to strengthen place in that year. this opinion.
An immense forest, like a large belt, forms the second Sicily, anciently called Triquetra, and Trinacria, from
Region ; its circumference is about seventy miles, and it its triangular form and its three Promontories, was for extends more than half-way up the sides of Etna. These many ages a flourishing state, and rivalled Greece (the
inexhaust ble forests furnished materials for the municrous most polished and the greatest of nations,) whence fleets whichi, in former times, ruled the seas, and proSicily derived civilization and the arts, and afterwards claimed the proud grandeur of the Syracusan tyrants. surpassed in magnificence and power. Syracuse was called Oaks and chesnuts grow in great abundance, and are the most powerful, and the most splendid, of the cities of often found of an extraordinary size; some kinds of Greece. The grandeur of this island has now passed fir, from which large quantities of resin are exti acted, away, and time, which changes all things, has crushed and beech, juniper, broom, and many other trees also the pride and pomp of this empress of the seas. Some abound. The “chesnut of a hundred horses," so called, scanty but beautiful remains of its former prosperity, its because a hundred men on horseback could be sheltered delightful climate, and the stupendous spectacle of Mount under its huge branches, has long been celebrated: 1 thing Etna, are now its principal attractions to the traveller. now remains of this ancient tree, except the in'mense
Mount Etna rises from the valley of Valdemone, not far hollow trunk, which time and the elements have at length from the Straits of Messina; it is not only the loftiest opened in several places. Its circumference is 201 feet, mountain in Sicily, but, with one or two exceptions, the and it will contain 300 sheep, and 27 men on horsel nck. most lofty in Europe. The name of the valley was Towards the extremity of this zone, the trees begin to derived from this volcano, which was, in ancient times, decrease in size and in number, vegetation languishes, and supposed to be the abode of demons, and the seat of eternal the Third Region, called Naked, or Barren, commenres. It fire; absurd ideas which are not yet entirely eradicated is composed of lava and of ice, and from its extremity rises from the minds of the people.
the great cone of the crater, formed by the accumulations Etna, according to some learned men, derives its name of sand, ashes, and other volcanic scoria, propelled to this from a Greek word, signifying to burn. When the Sara- immense height by the internal power of the volcano. cens had possession of Sicily, this mountain was called This cone is sometimes depressed, and sometimes even Gebel el Nar, (Mountain of Fire,) and from this was entirely disappears in the interior of the mountain, to be derived the name of Mongibello, which Etna still retains. reproduced afterwards by the same means; when it is thus It rises about 12,000 feet above the level of the sea; it is depressed and swallowed up, the mountain is no longer isolated from every chain of mountains; it differs from all visible from certain points, to mariners, to whom the sumothers in its form and nature, being entirely composed of mit usually serves as a beacon. The present cone was volcanic rocks; and its shape is that of a large cone, placed reproduced about the middle of the seventeenth century. upon an irregular base, about 180 miles in circumference.
Its height is about 1800 feet, and the interior is like a It is bounded by the sea on the East and the South, | funnel, about 600 feet in depth; the chief aperture is and on the West and North, by the rivers Simeto and about nine miles in circumference, and there is also a Alcantara.
smaller one. When the volcano is in a state of tranquillity, The great body of the mountain is divided into Three the descent to the bottom of the cone is practicable, but Regions, or Zones: the first, which commences at the difficult; the sides are then seen covered with beautiful foot of the mountain, is called the Cultivated Region; crystallizations of salt and sulphur, which temper in some the second is called the Woody Region ; and the third is degree the horrors of this abyss. the Naked, or Desert Region. These three regions differ From the middle of November to the end of May, the so entirely from each other in climate and in productions, whole of the Desert Region and part of the Woody Region that they may be compared to the three great zones of the are covered with snow, and Etna is almost inaccessible. earth • thus, the first may be compared to the Torrid zone The average temperature of the summit, in July and the second to the Temperate zone, and the third to the August, is 37 rees, whilst at Catania it is 84. From Arctic, or Frozen zone; so that this great father of moun- the south side of the island, Etna presents itself in tains may be considered as a compendium of our globe. majesty, rearing its proud front to the skies, and stretching
The Cultivated Region, which occupies the whole of the on one side into the depths of the sea, and on the other base, and extends about fourteen miles towards the sum- beyond the centre of the island. It is from this side that mit, is the most fruitful district in Sicily, and one of the the mountain is ascended, and the most favourable time most prolific and delightful spots in the world. Towns and for this undertaking is between the months of May and villas, peopled by 300,000 inbabitants, are dispersed over August. it in every direction. The soil is entirely composed of Departing from Catania, at the foot of the mountain, volcanic products, covered by decomposition with a fertile the traveller usually arrives at the summit some hours earth, except where furrowed up by torrents of lava before sunrise. The distance is about 28 or 30 miles, and which still resist the action of time, and offer a striking the road, traversing the three zones, is nearly direct from and cruel contrast to the softness and iling aspect of the foot to the summit of the mountain. The tract of land, the adjacent cultivation. The productions of this region which is crossed in the cultivated region, bears on every the most important of which is wine, are numerous and side the appearance of a smiling and variegated garden. abundant. The olive thrives in this volcanic soil, and At Necastagne, a little village, nine miles from Catania, may be found with the vine at the height of 3000 feet the traveller begins to enjoy a beautiful and extensive view above the level of the sea. Some kinds of grain are of the surrounding country; he then proceeds to Niccolosi, cultivated with success, as also almond, pistachio, and another beautiful village, four miles further, an l more than mulberry, trees; the silk procured from the mulberry, 3000 feet above the level of the sea. A little further, at a forms an important branch of the trade of Catania. This place called S. Niccolo l'Arena, the traveller enters the
Woody Region ; less smiling, it is true, but not less beautiful accidents. One of these burning rivers, descending the and variegated than the first.
mountain, came in contact with a volcanic hill, covered In the depth of the night, he at last finds himself in the with trees and verdure, and, having torn it from its Desert Region, facing the great smoking cone of Etna, foundations, transported it, like a floating island, to another which he approaches with dread and wonder. In truth, part of the country, where it fell to pieces. The fate of the objects which present themselves to his view are Mal Passi, a delightful spot on the flank of Etna, not far wonderful: the stupendous mountain, upon which he finds from the ancient Hybla, is not less remarkable. An himself, is so isolated, that his bewildered imagination eruption overwhelmed it with lava, and entirely destroyed knows not how to prepare for a descent to the regions of its beauty, and it was then called Mal Passi ; soon afterthe earth; beneath him is an ocean of darkness, and above wards it was again fertilized by a shower of cinders; it him the immense vault of heaven, covered with millions flourished for several years, and was called Bel Passi; of twinkling stars; a solemn silence pervades the universe, at last, in the eruption of 1669, it was again inundated by unbroken except by hollow sounds from the mountain ; lava, and then resumed the name of Mal Passi, which it and at his feet is a deep abyss, from which the eye and still retains. the mind alike recoil. At length he beholds the star of The hills which clothe the great body of Etna are proday, the first rays of which pierce the thick mantle of duced during the eruptions, when the earth opens, and night, and gradually unfold the splendid view, as it were, sends forth great quantities of cinders and of stones; these of a new creation.
materials fall to the ground, accumulate, and gradually To the east, illuminated by the sun, rising from the assunie the form of cones. opposite mountains of Calabria, he beholds the coast of The nature of the different kinds of lava is very Italy stretching out into the sea, and finally vanishing into various, according to the materials which compose them; the air; the Straits of Messina at his feet, resembling a but all kinds act upon the magnetic-needle, in conbroad and majestic river, gradually expanding; to the south, sequence of the iron with which they are impregnated; an immense expanse of ocean, with the island of Malta they are almost all very hard, and decomposed with great dimly seen through the misty horizon; and to the west the difficulty. The soil with which they become covered by whole of Sicily spread out, like an immense map, obscured the process of decomposition is favourable, above all other by the huge shadow of Etna, through which, however, soils, to vegetation; and it is, principally, on this account, every part is distinctly seen,-mountains, valleys, rivers that the lands of Etna are the most fertile in Sicily, with their long serpentine courses, and the houses and perhaps, in the whole world. animals on their banks. To the north, the little group of The operations of time are sometimes aided by sudden the Eolian Islands, the abode of the fabulous Eolus; and showers of ashes, which accelerate and favour the decomamongst them the flaming Stromboli,—which, at the moment position of the streams of lava; they become clothed, first, of sunrise, seems starting from the waves,-and the vast tract with a variety of lichens, then with other little plants, of sea which separates Sicily from the Bay of Naples. At which, from their nature, adhere to the soil; and are thus length, the eye turns to the mountain itself, of which it soon covered with verdure. beholds at once the three great zones; its enormous Fifty-nine eruptions of this volcano are recorded in flanks, furrowed by deep valleys, and rendered harsh and history; of these eleven took place before the birth of our rough by immense rivers of lava, and by more than eighty Saviour. History records the name of Empedocles, who volcanic mounts or hillocks, the progeny of this great father first fixed his abode on the most elevated part of this volcano, of volcanoes.
and afterwards precipitated himself into its jaws, in order to According to some writers, the visible horizon of Etna make others believe that he had been carried up to heaven; embraces a circumference of more than 2000 miles; and but an eruption of the mountain threw out one of the some Sicilian authors affirm, that from its summit the bronze sandals of the philosopher, and thus manifested African and the Neapolitan coasts have sometimes been at once his vanity and his death. discerned; but the sense of sight is too feeble to comprehend the extreme limits of so vast a circle.
Such are the wonders which Etna, in repose, offers to the When we contemplate the wonderful works of Nature, contemplation of the traveller; but far more wonderful, and walking about at leisure, gaze upon this ample theatre though very different, is the spectacle of Etna in activity. of the world, considering the stately beauty, constant order,
The first indication of an approaching eruption is a and sumptuous furniture thereof; the glorious splendour, thick smoke, which issues impetuously for several days and uniform motion of the heavens; the pleasant fertility from the mouth of the crater, and ascends in a column of the earth; the curious figure and fragrant sweetness of to an immeasurable height, where it spreads and dilates plants; the exquisite frame of animals; and all other itself in the air in the form of a tree; when the wind amazing miracles of nature, wherein the glorious attributes is high, the smoke sometimes extends over a tract of of God, especially his transcendant goodness, are more 100 miles. This column of smoke is succeeded by clouds conspicuously displayed: so that by them, not only large of ashes and sand, which the wind disperses on all sides, acknowledgments, but even gratulatory hymns, as it were, and drives to a great distance, sometimes to Malta, to Sar- of praise have been extorted from the mouths of Aristotle, dinia, to Corfu, and to many parts of Italy and the coast Pliny, Galen, and such like mea, never suspected guilty of Africa; then the air becomes dark, and these ashes and of an excessive devotion: then should our hearts be affected the showers of sand cover every object, weigh down the with thankful sense, and our lips break forth in praise. roofs of houses, prevent respiration, and fill the hearts of BARROW. the inhabitants with torror. In the mean time, the interior of the volcano is agitated and convulsed; the mountain RECREATION is intended to the mind as whetting is to the shakes from its very foundations ; horrible bellowings are scythe, to sharpen the edge of it, which otherwise would heard, with echoes, which, by degrees, are lost in the deep grow dull and blunt. He, therefore, that spends his whole recesses of the earth; enormous masses of burning lava time in recreation, is ever whetting, never mowing; his are shot upwards with terrific force, sometimes ascending grass may grow, and his steed starve: as contrarily, he to the height of 7000 feet. At length the sides of the that always toils and never recreates, is ever mowing, mountain are split, and torrents of smoke issue, followed never whetting; labouring much to little purpose. As by streams of lava, which descend like rivers of red liquid good no scythe as no edge. Then only doth the work go iron, to inundate the adjacent country. Sometimes the forward, when the scythe is so seasonably and moderately burning streams flow towards the sea, into which they whetted, that it may cut, and so cuts, that it may have the fall with a horrible sound, and prescribe new limits to help of sharpening.–Bishop Hall. the adverse element; sometimes over elevated tracts of ice, and then rivers of water rush down with tremendous noise. Those who are themselves truly religious, who have felt Deep Falleys on the ridge of the mountain have been the comfort, the happiness, which a just view of religion suddenly filled up by these floods of lava; and, in this inspires ; how much it heightens all our pleasures, and manner, in the eruption in 1381, the Port of Ulysses, softens all our pains; cannot fail to inspire their children mentioned by Virgil, now buried at a distance of three miles with a due love and reverence for those principles, of which from the sea, was filled up. Some of these streams have they have themselves felt the value. The best instruction extended to thirty miles in length, five or six miles in will, however, be of little use, if the example of the teacher breadth, and 300 feet in depth, and retain their internal is at variance with his precepts. Of all the lessons you heat for many years
can give your children, none will be of so great importance The eruptions of Etna are often accompanied by singular | as your own example.
No. VII. TAE VICTORY OF SALAMANCA.
moving in parallel lines in full march, and frequently When the British army captured Badajoz, Marshal within half cannon-shot of each other, each waiting Soult was moving up quickly to its support, and had for some favourable moment, in which the antagonist already arrived within two marches, when he learnt might be found at fault.” Nor was it long before it that it had been taken only two days before. The came. Marshal was much chagrined at the news, but he Early on the morning of the 22nd of July, the contented himself, as report says, with breaking all British army was posted, with its left resting on the plates and dishes in his immediate reach, and the river Tormes, and its right, near two remarkably lost no time in returning to Seville. Marmont too, bold rocky heights, called the Dos Arapiles; the who had invested Ciudad Rodrigo, in order to make enemy being immediately in front, and covered by a a diversion in favour of Badajoz, retreated the day thick wood. About eight o'clock, a column of after its capture, and fell back to Salamanca.
French soldiers issued from the wood, and advancing Lord Wellington's first object was to interrupt the rapidly, seized the outer and most extensive of those communication between the two French generals, strong points; the other was instantly occupied by by destroying their works and bridge of boats across the British. Marshal Marmont collected behind the the Tagus, at Almaraz, an operation gallantly and Arapiles a large force, and having great reliance on ably performed by Sir Rowland Hill, (at present his skill as a tactician, commenced manæuvreing on Lord Hill, and Commander in Chief.) He then a range of easy heights, about a thousand yards in advanced towards Salamanca in the middle of June, front of his opponents. In this manner the early and the French withdrew beyond the river Tormes, part of the day was spent; but about two o'clock in on whose right bank it stands; the British entered the afternoon, the marshal with much show, and the city, and having reduced several strong forts amidst great noise caused by the firing of his artillery, which the enemy had there constructed, pursued and the muskets of a cloud of skirmishers thrown Marmont and his army to the Douro. But the out from his front and flank, rapidly extended his marshal being strongly reinf ed, soon advanced left, and moved forward his troops, “ apparently," again, and caused the British general in his turn to said Lord Wellington in his despatch, retire. And now began a brilliant contest of skill, intention to embrace, by the position of his troops, between the two commanders, in which each dis- and by his fire, our post on that of the two Arapiles played all the resources of his art, and wielded them which we possessed, and from thence to attack and with consummate ability. Marmont's object, was break our line; or at all events, to render difficult evidently to cut off the allies from their commu- any movement of ours to our right." This maneunication with Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo, and vre of Marmont's, offered the British general an not to fight a battle, unless at such advantage as opportunity of attack, for which he had been anxmight seem to render his success certain ; to frustrate iously looking. He was at dinner, when informed of this design was of course the purpose of Lord it; but at once perceiving his advantage, he rose Wellington. The manœuvres of the French marshall in such haste as to overturn the table, exclaiming were met by corresponding movements on the part “ Marmont's good genius has forsaken him ;" in of the British general, and thus rendered of no avail; an instant he was on horseback, issuing those orders and for six days did this game of skill continue. “It which won the battle of Salamanca. was an awful sight," says Mr. Southey, “to behold The French had dangerously weakened their left two great armies in an open and level country, by too greatly extending it. It rested originally, as
is with an
BY AN AMERICAN.
we have observed, upon one of two remarkable rocky The loss in this battle was severe on both sides, points, called the Dos Arapiles, on the other of and particularly on that of the French. Besides the avhich was posted the British right; but it was now dead and wounded, they left 7000 prisoners on the prolonged on the heights beyond that point. The field; and eleven pieces of cannon, with several British General resolved on three simultaneous ammunition-waggons, two eagles, and six colours, attacks upon this part of Marmont's army: one were taken from them. Of the allies, nearly 5000 upon its front; a second to support the first by were killed and wounded; among the latter were assailing the Arapiles Hill which the enemy held; Generals Cole and Leith, and Marshal Beresford; and the other to turn their left upon the heights. and among the former was General Le Marchant, The divisions of Generals Leith and Cole, with whose loss, the Earl of Wellington regretted as that Bradford's brigade, and Sir Stapleton Cotton's cavalry of “a most noble officer.” On the French side, were charged with the first; General Pack’s, and two Marmont himself was disabled early in the action; Portuguese regiments, with the second; and the his second also was wounded, and three generals were third division under Pakenham, with D'Urban's killed. cavalry, and two squadrons of dragoons under The victory thus gained at Salamanca, was the Colonel Hervey were directed upon the third. most memorable and decisive which had hitherto
Pakenham's force moved briskly over the inter- crowned the British arms in the peninsula. vening valley, and passing beyond the enemy's extended left, almost before they were aware of his
A VOYAGE TO ENGLAND, intention, formed across their flank, drove them back in disorder, and overthrew every thing that presented to an American visiting Europe, the long royage he has itself. The cavalry charged, and breaking in gal to make is an excellent preparative. From the moment lantly among the confused masses of infantry, put you lose sight of the land you have left, all is vacancy numbers to the sword. The attack in front was until you step upon the opposite shore, and are launched equally successful; the British troops had been lying at once into the bustle and novelties of another world. stretched on the ground, to avoid the effects of the
I have said that at sea all is vacancy. I should correct heavy cannonade to which they were exposed for fond of losing himself in reveries, a sea-voyage is full of
the expression. To one given up to day-dreaming, and about an hour, when the welcome orders came, subjects for meditation ; but then they are the wonders of which bade them advance against the enemy. “The the deep, and of the air, and rather tend to abstract the distance," says Mr. Southey,“ was more than a mile, mind from worldly themes. I delighted to loll over the up a steep height crowned by twenty pieces of quarter-railing, or to climb to the main-top on a calm day, cannon, and their left had to pass through the and to muse for hours together on the tranquil bosom of a village, which formed a considerable obstruction;
summer's sea; or to gaze upon the piles of golden clouds they advanced in perfect order, not firing a shot till just peering above the horizon, fancy thein some fairy
realms, and people them with a creation of my own, or to they had gained the summit, from whence the guns watch the gentle undulating billows rolling their silver which had annoyed them were hastily withdrawn, volumes, as it to die away on those happy shores. nor till they had received the fire of the enemy who There was a delicious sensation mingled security and were formed into squares to resist them. When they awe, with which I looked down from my giddy height on were within some thirty yards, the word was given the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols. Shoals to fire and charge; this instantly threw the squares grampus slowly heaving his huge form above the surface,
of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the ship: the into disorder; the heavy cavalry coming up on the or the ravenous shark, darting like a spectre through the right increased their confusion; they fled then, and blue waters. My imagination would conjure up all that I in their flight, fell in with the remains of their extreme had heard or read of the watery world beneath me, of the left, flying before Major-General Pakenham's division.” finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of the shapeThe French were driven successively from one height to less monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the another; and a large number of them made prisoners. carth; and those wild phantasms which sviell the tales of
fishermen and sailors. But the British soon experienced a check, in
Sometimes a distant sail gliding along the edge of the consequence of the failure of Pack's attack
ocean would be another theme for idle speculation. How Arapiles, enabling the enemy to throw some troops interesting this fragment of a world hastening to rejoin upon the left of the force which had attacked their the great mass of existence! What a glorious monument front. Cole's division was obliged to give way, after of human invention, that has thus triumphed over the a severe contest, in which their general was wounded. wind and wave; has brought the ends of the earth to
communion, has established an interchange of blessings, But the promptitude of Marshal Beresford, and the pouring into the steril regions of the north all the luxuries opportune aid afforded by a fresh division which had of the south; diffused the light of knowledge and the been kept in reserve, and which Lord Wellington charities of cultivated life; and has thus bound together now ordered up, soon restored the success of the those scattered portions of the human race, between which British. The enemy's right, however, reinforced by
nature seemed to have thrown an insurmountable barrier ! the troops which had fled from his left, and by those distance. At sea every thing that breaks the monotony
We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a which had now retired from the Arapiles, still con
of the surrounding expanse attracts the attention. It tinued to resist; they re-formed and took up their proved to be the mast of a ship that must have been comground with great quickness and skill, almost at pletely wrecked; for there were the remains of handkerright angles to their original front, the infantry along chiefs by which some of the crew had fastened themselves the crest of the hill in line, supported by heavy close to this spar to prevent their being washed off by the waves. columns in reserve, the cavalry in masses on their There was no trace by which the name of the ship could flanks, and the artillery posted at the advanced be ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about
many months; clusters of shell-fish had fastened about it, knolls, so as to sweep the whole face of the height. and long sea-weeds flaunted at its sides. But where, But all their resistance was vain; they were driven thought I, is the crew? Their struggle has long been back, and soon fled through the woods towards the over;—they have gone down amidst the roar of the Tormes, cavalry, infantry, and baggage, all mixed tempest :-their bones lie whitening in the caverns of the together. They were briskly pursued; but the deep. Silence-oblivion, like the wares have closed over darkness of the night was highly advantageous to
them, and no one can tell the story of their end.
What sighs have been wasted after that ship! what them, and under its cover many escaped, who must prayers offered up at the deserted fire-side of home! How otherwise have fallen into the hands of the victors. often has the mother, the sister, and the wife, pored over the daily news, to catch some casual intelligence of this had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy rover of the deep! How has expectation darkened into of every one on board. When the weather was fine, his anxiety--anxiety into dread--and dread into despair! messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the Alas! not one memento shall ever return for love to shade, but of late his illness had so increased, that he had cherish. All that shall ever be known is that she sailed taken to his hammock, and had only breathed a wish that from her port, “and was never heard of more.
he might see his wife before he died. The sight of the wreck, as usual, gave rise to many He had been helped on deck as we came up the river, dismal anecdotes. This was particularly the case in the and was now leaning against the shrouds, with a counteevening, when the weather, which had hitherto been fair, nance so wasted, so pale, and so ghastly, that it is no began to look wild and threatening, and gave indications wonder the eye of affection did not recognise him. But at of one of those sudden storms that will sometimes break the sound of his voice her eye darted on his features, it in upon the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat read at once the whole volume of sorrow; she clasped her around the dull light of a lamp, in the cabin, that made hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in the gloom more ghastly, every one had his tale of ship- silent agony. · wreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short All was now hurry and bustle. The meeting of acone related by the captain.
quaintances—the greeting of friends--the consultations of “ As I was once sailing," said he, “ in a fine stout ship, men of business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had no across the banks of Newfoundland, one of the heavy fogs friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon the that prevail in those parts rendered it impossible for me to land of my forefathers—but felt that I was a stranger in see far ahead, even in the daytime; but at night the that land. -WASHINGTON IRving. weather was so thick, that we could not distinguish any object at twice the length of our ship. I kept lights at the mast-head, and a constant watch forward to look out
THE CURFEW. for fishing-smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze,
Oft on a plat of rising ground and we were going at a great rate through the water.
I hear the far-off Curfew sound Suddenly the watch gave the alarm of a sail ahead !' but
Over some wide-watered shore, it was scarcely uttered till we were upon her. She was a
Swinging slow with sullen roar.-Milton. small schooner at anchor, with her broadside towards us. The crew were all asleep, and had neglected to hout a
The word Curfew is derived from the Norman word, light. We struck her just amid-ships. The force, the size, and weight of our vessel, bore her down below the waves; carrefou, or couvrefeu, and is now considered by us to we passed over her, and were hurried on our course.
mean the signal for extinguishing fires. Pasquier “As the crashing wreck was sinking beneath us, I had says it is derived from carfou, or garefou, as being a glimpse of two or three half-naked wretches, rushing intended to advertise the people to secure themselves from her cabin ; they had just started from their cabins to from the robbers and revellers of the night. be swallowed, shrieking, by the waves. I heard their
The CURFEW BELL is commonly, though I think drowning cry mingled with the wind. The blast that bore it to our ears swept us out of all farther hearing. I shall erroneously, supposed to have been introduced in never forget that cry! It was some time before we could England by William the Conqueror. It is true, that put the ship about, she was under such headivay. We one of his laws ordered all his subjects to extinguish returned, as nearly as we could guess, to the place where their fires and lights, and retire to rest, at eight the ship was anchored. We cruised about for several hours o'clock, at which hour the Curfew was appointed to in the dense fog. We fired several guns, and listened if be rung, but the regulation existed in the monasteries we might hear the hallo of any survivors; but all was silent- we never heard nor saw any thing of them more !" | long before his time ; and although it was not, per-. It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of haps, obligatory on the inhabitants of the adjoining
was given from the mast-head. I question whether villages, yet was highly conducive to the general Columbus, when he discovered the new world, felt a more safety, when the cottages were composed entirely of delicious throng of sensations than rush into an American's timber. Henry, in his History of Great Britain, says bosom wlren he first comes in sight of Europe. There is there is sufficient evidence that the same custom prea volume of associations in the very name. It is that land of promise, teeming with every thing of which his child-vailed in most parts of Europe at this period, and hood has heard, or on which his studious years have
was intended as a precaution against fires, which pondered.
were then very frequent and very tal, when so From that time until the period of our arrival it was many houses were built of wood ; and Peshall, in his all feverish excitement. The ships of war that prowled History of the City of Oxford, affirms that the custom like guardian giants round the coast; the headlands of of ringing the bell, at Carfax, every night at eight Ireland stretching out into the channel; the Welsh moun- o'clock (called Curfew Bell, or Cover-fire Bell), was tains towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred
by order of King Alfred, the restorer of our Univerthe shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight
sity, who ordained that all the inhabitants of Oxford on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green should, at the ringing of that bell, cover up their grass-plots. I saw the mouldering ruins of an abbey fires and go to bed ; which custom is observed to overrun with ivy, and the ta per spire of a village church this day : and the bell as constantly rings at eight rising from the brow of a neighbouring hill-all were cha
as Great Tom tolls at nine. In order to reconcile racteristic of England. The tide and wind were so favourable, that the ship was
these accounts of Henry and Peshall with the asserenabled to come at once at the pier. It was thronged with
tions set forth by most other writers, of its intropeople; some idle lookers-on, others eager expectants of duction by the Norman conqueror, we may, I think, some friends or relatives. I could distinguish the mer- be justified in supposing that the custom existed in chant to whom the ship belonged. I knew him by his England prior to his reign, but that, under the loose calculating brow and restless air. His harde were thrust and careless sway of the Saxon monarchs, it had into his pockets ; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walk-fallen gradually into disuse, and was eagerly revived ing to and fro, a small space having been accorded to him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. by William, as a means of securing his usurpation, There were repeated cheerings and salututions inter- by enervating the habits of the people, and of supchanged between the shore and the ship, as friends hap- pressing all attempts at domestic rebellion, by prepened to recognise each other.
venting any nightly meetings of the disafiected. But I particularly noted one young woman, of humble Of the causes which led to the establishment of a dress but interesting demeanor. She was leaning forward from among the crowd, her eye hurried over the ship as it for certain, and the opinions of modern historians
custom at first sight so tyrannical, we know nothing neared the shore, to catch some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed and agitated, when I heard a
differ widely with regard to them. Some affirm that faint voice call her name. It was from a poor sailor who the Conqueror, regarding his British subjects with a